I have been interested in photography since forever. Often, I just go out and start walking up the mountains to find the perfect landscape to shoot at. For many years, I have been learning and practicing to improve my shots. And there are some tips that I have learned so far. Of the following, some are just tips to choose the composition, while others will be more technical. In any case, most of them can improve any photography, and some others only apply for travel shooting. Even though I will speak about what’s the best photography gear to carry in your trips, if you have a DSLR, a couple of lenses (a fast automatic one and a wide-angle lens), are enough.
Anyhow, here are my ten golden rules!
The rule of the thirds
I think I can say that this is the most important rule of photography composition out there. You can find it in any manual or guide. It is very simple and it is a nice way to improve any picture.
This rule says that the natural focus of interest of the eye doesn’t go to the center of the picture but to one of the thirds lines. These lines are the ones dividing the picture in three equal parts vertically and horizontally. The focus of interest in the picture should fall on these lines, ideally where they cross.
Even though it seems like nothing special, pictures taken with this simple rule in mind, are much more attractive.
Lines and angles
This rule applies to those picture where lines are involved. Like when you take a picture of a street, a road, or to some trains. The best way to get someone in the picture is to match the lines with the corners of the photography. This gives much more depth to the picture and it makes it more interesting. And it’s very simple!
Regarding horizons, there’s a general rule about composition and my own consideration.
Usually, when you are taking a picture of the horizon, this must fall right into one of the thirds line (yep, back at them). Meaning: we either have two thirds of ground/sea or we have two thirds of sky. It all depends on what’s the important part. If we are witnessing an amazing sunset, go and make the sky shine. If you want to shoot at an amazing lake, with the small hills and the cows… well, you know what should have the two thirds…
After that, my personal recommendation will seem stupid. But it is only to make sure that the horizon line is parallel to the bottom of the picture. That it is not falling to the right or left. It’s a tiny thing, but correcting three degrees can change completely a photography!
Often, it is possible to find a nice frame for whatever we want to shoot. It can be a group of trees. Or that nice stone arch. Or just the window curtains. In any case, it is always a good idea to use these natural frames to give more concept to the picture. More information about where we are and how we were included in the photography.
Change the point of view
Most of the pictures we shoot will be taken from the same point of view: at eye level. If you are short (like moi), it will all look bigger. If you are tall, everything will seem tiny. In any case, taking all your pictures at the same level can be a bit boring. A nice option can be to try and shoot while sitting on the floor. One example. Also, if you are trying to shoot at children or animals, get at their high (if possible), and shoot from there. The picture will be funnier and better.
To avoid making an extra-long article, I have divided this list in two posts. You can find the second part here.