26 Shoot both upright and horizontal frames
For static subjects, it’s worth trying to shoot both upright and horizontal versions of the same scene.
This only takes a few seconds, and you may find that the format that you initially chose wasn’t the best option for that particular scene or subject after all. It’s also a great habit to get into if you are thinking of selling your shots, because it doubles your potential market for not much extra effort.
27 Straighten up
Unless you’re going for a deliberately angled image, you should always make sure that the horizon is straight in your shots. If you are having trouble levelling your shots by eye, use the electronic level (if your camera has one). Otherwise, you could use a spirit level accessory that fits into the top hotshoe of your camera (check out the 10 rules of photo composition – and why they work).
28 Use Live View for a 100% view
The viewfinders on many non-pro SLRs only show around 95% of the whole image, so you don’t see the edges of your shot as you shoot. Turn on Live View for more reliable framing (for more, see our photography cheat sheet on What is Live View telling you).
29 Ruthlessly kill any clutter
Keeping the scene simple is one of the best ways to focus attention on your main subject. Achieving this takes a little practice, so get into the habit of looking around the whole scene to avoid objects that divert attention from the subject, or clutter things up (cars, poles, trees, stray people, etc).
30 Remember the framing rules
Getting into the habit of positioning your subject a third of the way into the frame, using lines to lead the eye into the picture and including foreground interest, are simple ways to get effective shots. These classic rules won’t guarantee perfect composition, but they will definitely help (for more on this, see our guide to Rule of Thirds: use it and break it with confidence).