Tutorials: Photographic Composition

There are many suggestions, guidelines and techniques about composition. Understanding these will help you create good photos but will also help you to understand when breaking the rules will give the strongest impact.

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© Michael Norton 2011, EOS 7D

Photographic composition is the art of finding a camera viewpoint that places all the elements of the subject in visually stimulating positions within the frame. This tutorial will describe the most useful and frequently used techniques to improve photos.

• Crop the background
• A different viewpoint
• Near and far
• Vanishing points
• The S-line
• The rule-of-thirds
• Portrait or landscape
• On the level

Composition is as much about excluding items as including them. Many backgrounds benefit from being cropped, either by moving closer to the main subject or zooming in. From 8mm ultra wide angle to 800mm super telephoto, the 60+ lenses in the EF series give you a huge range of possibilities with your EOS.

Cropping serves two purposes. First, it eliminates unwanted and distracting objects or backgrounds. Second, it allows you to fill the frame with the main subject. In portraiture, this means that you can show just the face of the person.

Do remember that the surroundings and background can often add to the character of a person. You can show the person in their environment – a writer at a desk, for example, a pianist at a piano, or a photographer using a camera.

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Photographic Composition
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