Photography for bloggers composition. Last week I did an overview of of how to take great photographs, so this week let’s go more in-depth and talk about composition specifically. We already touched on some points, like the rule of thirds and cropping images to keep your subject focused, but there is so much more to think about.
Why is composition so important? People generally have short attention spans and no one wants to scroll through a whole bunch of nearly identical pictures. As bloggers, we have to be sensitive to what our readers are looking for and bombarding them with too many photos isn’t going to keep anyone interested. I can’t tell you how often I close a blog without leaving a comment because I realize that I’m wasting too much of my time waiting for all the images to load. So you know the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, let’s make sure that it’s true. So what you want to do is plan out each of your shots to maximize your subject, whether it be an outfit or a product.
PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BLOGGERS COMPOSITION
Keep it simple.Our eyes naturally adjust to a cluttered room and we can pick out a point of focus, but it’s not so easy to do that in a photograph. When you are creating a shot, it’s important to ensure that the subject is clearly defined. The Instagram images with a few items laid out clearly on a white background are so effective because the subject is so obvious. Not only that, but they also fill the whole frame. If you are unsure about your image then get up close and personal with your subject. You usually can’t go wrong with such a strong shot.
Watch the negative space. Negative space is what surrounds your subject and it can be both good and bad. The key is to create balance in your shots. If there is too much “wasted” space then it might be better to simply crop the image. Another option would be to balance your subject with another subject or a bright colour. Let’s say you are taking an outfit post, you can balance the shot by capturing a tall building in the background or a tree off to one side. As humans, we inherently search for patterns and symmetry and while you don’t need to make them obvious (although that can look pretty great) balancing out the shot will make it more visually appealing.
Keep the flow. Although technically an image is static, you still want to introduce some kind of movement. Including lines like those found in nature, think a river, a row of trees or even a road, will help your eyes move through a photograph (hint, it also adds depth to your image). This can be especially powerful when you change the angle of your shots. Rather than taking the photograph head on, try angling it and allowing the lines to run diagonally through the frame. (lines, like a river, keep your eyes moving through the photograph). These lines can also act like arrows drawing your attention to your subject.
Make it unexpected. In the west, we read from left to right and that’s exactly how we look at photographs. So the next time you are creating a composition, think about this. Maybe you want your subject to be the first thing your readers notice or maybe you want it to be more unexpected, by placing it in the bottom right hand corner or top left hand corner of your frame. Sometimes moving your subject away from the center of the frame makes it more powerful. Also, don’t be afraid to play with depth. We expect to see a subject in the forefront, one in the middle and then something in the background. You’ll see this quite often in landscape photography. For something a little different, try having your subject in the background with the foreground being out of focus.
Follow the movement. Since we are trying to create movement and energy in our photographs, another factor to consider when photographing people (and moving objects) is the space around them. When taking profile shots (or any shot when your subject is not looking directly at the camera) try to leave some space between them and the frame.
Change your perspective. It’s a fairly natural tendency to just point and shoot your subject head on, but sometimes taking your shot at an angle will highlight details so much more. Try getting above or below your subject for a new point of view. On that note, make sure that you aren’t always taking horizontal photographs. Sometimes you need to flip the camera for a vertical shot (you can always crop your image if you get too much unwanted negative space). If you don’t happen to have a tripod on hand, a great tip I learned in film school is to “jam” your bottom elbow into your side, it will help steady your hands.
Background. We covered the idea that it’s important to have an uncluttered background because it draws your attention away from the subject. The first thing we will always notice is colour and bright patterns. Sometimes changing your angle can eliminate the distractions. If you are using a DSLR, a more technical option is to use a long focal length with a wide lens aperture which will make your background unfocused.
Break the rules. Great photography is art and like with any art form, sometimes you just have to break the rules. Listen to your gut and don’t worry about setting up the perfect shot each time. We already spoke about creating movement, but sometimes breaking a line can make a powerful statement.
Now remember, you don’t have to think of all of these things every single time you pick up your camera, but try to incorporate them whenever you can. One trick that I use is to practice every time I pull out my phone to take a photo. Since it’s a small screen (with a grid) the image is drawn out for me. The key is to keep playing, you’ll know when you get a great shot and most of all never be afraid to crop!
Do you have any tips for composing a great shot, or any questions about how to take the best photographs?
For more great photos don’t forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST