What is that makes a photographer a professional? The best of the best have years of experience under their belts, and have had the chance to capture an array of natural wonders, weather patterns, powerful events, etc. Long story short, practice makes perfect. But there are a few easy tips you can function into your photography repertoire to get the most out of your camera right away. In today’s world, most pictures are spontaneous and shot on-the-go. That means smartphone cameras are becoming more habitually used in everyday situations. So, it’s important to note that these tools of the trade don’t just apply to DSLRs, they can be used with any camera by any photographer - from novices to seasoned pros. S-curve Composition For rivers, trails & roads · Sweep the viewers’ eyes from left to right or back and forth · Fill the frame · Create a sense of depth and motion The great thing about a strong s-curve is that, unlike straight lines, it fills the photo. It gives an image power, depth, and most importantly, movement that it would otherwise lack. In certain instances, an s-curve is also capable of framing a subject within your image. Notice in the example below how the curve of the mountain seems to cradle the rising sun, making it all the more striking. The s-curve is also important when emphasizing the element of distance. You’ll notice that if a river, for example, enters in the bottom left corner of a photo and exits in the top right, it seems to be moving away from the viewer. Alternatively, if the river moves from the top left to the bottom right of a photo, it seems to be coming towards the viewer. Take this into account when shooting applicable scenes, and when deciding what kind of sentiment you want to convey with a picture. Central Composition Where the focal point is centered · Simple and easy · Position the object in the center grid · Aim for a clear background Central composition is the probably the most straightforward element we’re introducing today. It’s easy to shoot, but it’s important to also know when to use it. How many times have you centered the subject of a photo only to find that the result is pretty boring and ineffective? Long story short, unless what you’re centering is the only thing you want people to notice in your photograph, it shouldn’t used. A busy street corner where you want to focus on just one person or object within a crowd is a good example of when central composition can be successful. It can also be implemented to create a sense of grand size or open space. Notice in the image below how much power the mountain seems to have rising into the central point of the grid. If it had been positioned elsewhere, this effect would be lost. Horizontal Composition For landscapes, coastlines, etc. · Level the horizon of the shot on either the second or third grid line · Accurate proportions · Natural symmetry gives a feeling of strength to the image Horizontal lines are a great way to give an image a real sense of stability. There’s nothing worse than a photo that seems to be angled even slightly off. This is easy enough to achieve if you’ve got a tripod or a steady hand, but where exactly should you position these lines within the image? As a rule of thumb, horizons should almost never be placed in the middle of your frame, it’s simply not aesthetically pleasing to viewers. A better option is to level the horizontal line on either the second or third grid line, depending on what’s going on above and below the frame. You’ll notice in the photo below, the horizon has been placed on the higher grid line, because the sprouting rice field is more interesting than the muddled sky above. You can also take vertical lines into account in certain instances. Note how the centred, vertical line of rice sprouts exits perfectly into the horizon. This keeps things organized and engaging for the viewer. The Rule of Thirds For outstanding targets · Use your eye to roughly divide your image with two vertical and two horizontal lines into nine equal-sized boxes · Place the points of interest on grid intersections The rule of thirds is certainly one of the most well-known concepts in photography. It’s so important as the basis for balanced shooting that it’s possibly one of the first things new students will be taught. So, let’s get a head start! Think of your composition in terms of grid intersections. Use your eyes to divide your shot with two vertical and two horizontal lines. This creates nine equal-sized boxes, like in our examples below. Research suggests that as humans, our eyes naturally prefer to look at images at positions that would be located at the grid intersections. This allows our viewers to interact with our photograph naturally, creating balance in our shot. Our viewers then have an easier time processing the image. We are working with the natural order of things, not against it. Triangle Composition For long buildings, corridors & roads · One point of the triangle works as the center · Creates a balanced, forward-moving image Triangles, though not always readily apparent in a photograph, are always present – it just takes a little training of the eye to distinguish their natural occurrence. Manipulating your photograph through triangles will quickly help you create compositions of interest. In short, it’s a way of tying together three major points of a composition in order to invoke a certain feeling, such as balance, peace, or even aggression. It’s important to remember, triangles are usually implied in the composition, meaning the viewer won’t readily notice a physical triangle. Take the photograph below. An invisible triangle has been used in order to tie together three points of interest - the side of the road, and the figure around the midway point of the photograph. This specific triangle would be called a converging triangle, because the lines converge at a defined point, which in this case, is the figure. Take a look again, from the defined point, can you make even more triangles? These concepts are popular for a reason – they work! But you don’t have to always stick to these rules, you’ll find some of your favorite compositions might even break them. All of these pictures were taken with our #SuperPhones. So where are the #SuperPhotographers out there? Show us your work and let us know what concepts you used to achieve your creative goals. Don't forget to share this article with your friends if you found it useful! 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