The world’s best photography tips (and how to break them)

The world's best photography tips (and how to break them)

Photography tips for better composition


Photography Tips: follow the rule of thirds

11 Follow the Rule of Thirds

Many beginners plonk the subject in the middle of the frame, but this usually results in a rather dull composition.

By instead dividing the image with imaginary lines a third into the image from the top, bottom and sides, and placing crucial elements along these lines, or at their intersections, you’ll almost always get a more satisfying result.

For landscapes, place the horizon either along the top or bottom third of the frame and try to position important landmarks a third in from the side; for portraits or action shots, place the subject to the side, with space for your subject to ‘move into’.

Learn more about how to use the Rule of Thirds with confidence.

Break the rules!
Images with reflections usually look better with a central horizon, and symmetrical architecture also looks better when it’s centred.


Photography Tips: get down on eye level

2 Get down to eye level

When shooting anything smaller than you – be it animals or children – you’ll get a much more engaging portrait if you get down to their level. Not only will it give you a more natural perspective, you won’t have the boring foreground in sharp focus, and you’ll be able to include a creatively blurred backdrop.

Break the rules!
Shooting from above, with your subject looking up, produces large alluring eyes; shooting from below gives lovely long legs!


Photography Tips: avoid busy backgrounds

13 Don’t forget the background

It’s all too easy to concentrate so much on your subject that you don’t pay attention to what’s surrounding them, and this can spoil many a good shot. Avoid busy backgrounds, and make sure your subject is far enough from their background that you can blur them out when using a wide aperture.

Photography Tips: avoid busy backgrounds

Almost as important is to avoid ‘dead space’, such as empty foregrounds or too much space around subjects; instead, compose your shot so that there’s something of interest throughout the frame, and around your subject.

Break the rules!
Empty space isn’t necessarily ‘dead’ space; used carefully, it can give your subject room to breathe.


Photography Tips: use leading lines

14 Include leading lines

Draw viewers into your images with lines, curves or other shapes that lead them in from the edges of the frame to your subject. Lines leading diagonally from the corners can be particularly effective. Hedges and fences, roads and paths, and objects such as driftwood can all be used to great effect.

Break the rules!
Be careful not to use ill-positioned lines that have the opposite of your intended effect, and lead the viewer out of the image instead.


Landscape Photography Tips: foreground

15 Don’t forget the foreground

When you come upon a breathtaking vista it’s tempting to point the camera into the distance and snap away, only to find your shots lack something.

Tilting the camera downwards a little, or shooting from a lower perspective, to include something of interest in the foreground improves landscapes shots immeasurably, as it helps to place the viewer in the frame, and adds a sense of scale and perspective.

Break the rules!
Shoot from a high angle with a telephoto lens to compress perspective and bring distant landmarks closer to fill the frame – that way, you don’t need foreground interest. For more, check out these pro tips on how to shoot telephoto landscapes.

PAGE 1: Photography tips on setting up your DSLR
PAGE 2: Photography tips on focusing your camera
PAGE 3: Photography tips on composition
PAGE 4: Photography tips on using light


DO or Di? Your lens markings explained
The 10 Commandments of Landscape Photography (and how to break them)
Download free photography cheat sheets