Tutorials: Photographic Composition

Portrait or landscape

You can hold the camera so that the long side is parallel with the ground (horizontal or landscape format) or turn the camera through 90° so that the short side is parallel with the ground (vertical or portrait format). However, great landscapes can be shot in portrait format and many portraits are shot in landscape format.

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© Karel Renders 2011, EOS 50D

Ensure you make good use of both formats. Far too many photographers find it is comfortable to hold the camera in landscape format and rarely shoot in portrait format. Set yourself a small assignment to photograph selected subjects in both the landscape and portrait formats. You will not be able to use the same compositions for each – experiment to see which arrangements work best.

On the level
When shooting landscapes – rural or urban – it is important to keep the camera level. Horizons that slope to the left or right are disturbing. The EOS 7D and 60D have built-in electronic levels. These display in the viewfinder and on the LCD screen to help you position the camera.

However, any camera can be set level if you use the spirit level found in some tripods, or an inexpensive accessory spirit level that slips into the accessory shoe. Alternatively, there are Apps available for smartphones that perform this function.

Enter the Gallery
When photos are selected for the You Connect Gallery, good composition is one of the key selection criteria. Now you have read this tutorial you have discovered many of the simple techniques that will make a difference. So take your camera out and capture images; the next Gallery will be selected based on composition, not subject. Select your favourites and enter them in the Gallery. Next month your photo could be displayed as one of the best!

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Tutorials
Photographic Composition
Video photography
Water photography
Landscape photography
Black and white photography
Action photography
Christmas portrait photography