Photo Composition Tips

Wanna know a secret? There are things you might be doing with your photographs that make them appear less professional. One of the things that always sticks out to me is when people chop off someones limb when it’s not really “appropriate”. I went to a photography workshop several years back, and when they pointed this out, it was like a light bulb went off and ever since, it has stuck in my head! You don’t ever wanna chop off an arm, head, leg, etc. if you can avoid it.

Obviously when you’re photographing kids, this can be hard to manage in camera. So keep in mind that if you are photographing far enough out, you can always crop in during post processing! Rule of thumb though: don’t chop off limbs at the joints.

 

Chopped Feet Photo Example:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

Fixed Version:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Chopped Fingers Photo Example:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

Fixed Version:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Another way to make a photo appear more professional is by not putting your subject smack in the middle of the photograph. Instead, try using the Rule of Thirds, Framing, Negative Space, Filling the Frame, or Leading Lines.

 

Here’s an example of what NOT to do:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

Here’s an example of how to fix it and make it more interesting:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Try not to shoot a photograph with a tilted horizon. If you do, again, it’s no biggie. You can fix it (usually) in post processing, but you might lose some of the details surrounding it.

 

Here’s an example of what NOT to do:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

Here’s an example of how to fix it and make it more interesting:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

Another thing to consider is standing too close, or too far away from your subject. If you’re too far, your viewer might not be sure what the subject is and what’s supposed to be most important in the frame. If you’re using a prime lens, don’t be afraid to step closer to the subject and actually move your feet!

 

Here’s an example of what NOT to do, and an example of being further from your subject:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Here’s an example of what NOT to do, and an example of being too close to your subject:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Here’s an example of how to fix it and make it more interesting:

 

 

Make sure you don’t get stuck taking the same composed photo every single time. This can happen a lot. You get stuck in a rut and lose some of your creativity. Not to fret! There are simple ways of getting out of that rut. Try different perspectives, lines, framing, props, details and so on!

 

Here’s an example of using leading lines, where the plant directs you to the subject:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Here’s an example of when we were strawberry picking and I focused in on a detail, where my son found a ladybug:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Here’s an example of shooting strawberry picking from a different perspective:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Try not to have too many distractions in your photograph. That doesn’t mean you need to clean up your house before you take a photo, but try to move your feet a little bit so that the mess is off to the side and not in the frame and your viewer can better focus on your subject. Moving the distractions will only help your photograph.

Also, try not to capture your subject leaving the frame of a photo. This gives the impression that the subject is uncomfortable and naturally, we all want to know what the subject was focused on rather than focusing on the subject in front of us.

 

Here’s an example of what NOT to do, where the subject is leaving the frame:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

Here’s an example of what to do instead:

Photo Composition by Ashley Kanton Photography

 

 

If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy these Composition blog posts:

Fill the Frame

The Rule of Thirds

Leading Lines

Negative Space

 

Photo Composition Tips
  1. […] my recent post about Photo Composition one of the things I talked about was how important it is not to crop your subjects limbs out of a […]

  2. […] you were interested in this post, you might also be interested in the post about Photo Composition Tips and Fill the Frame […]

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