How to compose a photograph in Live View

How to compose a photograph in Live View

Discover how to compose a photograph and fine tune your framing by previewing your image on your camera’s LCD screen.

How to compose a photograph in Live View

Image and words by Mark Hamblin

Live View has been around for a while, and it’s a handy tool to learn to use. In basic terms, Live View enables your camera to provide a constantly updating image on its LCD monitor of the scene you’re pointing the camera at.

Although Live View is sometimes viewed as a gimmick to help those who have got used to this way of framing before stepping up to an SLR, Live View has a lot of useful plus points.

It enables you to preview the shot so you can check things like exposure and focus before you press the shutter. You can make changes to the aperture, shutter speed or ISO settings and see how these affect the image in real time. On many cameras you can also bring up a histogram over the image, to ensure correct exposure and avoid blown highlights.

Zoom in
Another useful feature of Live View is that the image on the LCD monitor can be magnified up to ten times, which is a great way to check for critical focus – especially when working with a shallow depth of field and for close-up work. Live View also allows for precise framing with most monitors displaying a 100% view – something that most DSLRs don’t provide through their optical viewfinder.

SEE MORE: Live View – how to use it on any camera

Step-by-step how to compose in Live View

Step-by-step how to compose in Live View: step 1

01 Use autofocus in Live View
Move the focusing point displayed on the LCD so that it’s superimposed over the subject, then press the shutter halfway to acquire focus. Some models have a Quick mode that causes the mirror to flip back down momentarily to allow faster focusing.


Step-by-step how to compose in Live View: step 2

02 Use manual focusing
In many cases, manual focusing is better for greater accuracy. Switch the lens to MF, then turn the focusing ring on the lens until the image appears sharp. Use the magnify function to zoom in by a factor of 5x or 10x to focus on a precise part of the subject.


Step-by-step how to compose in Live View: step 3

03 Expose more accurately
Set Live View to exposure simulation to see how changes to exposure settings affect the image. Bring up the histogram to see if the image is too dark (graph to the left) or too light (to the right). Apply exposure compensation (+/-) so the graph is central.


Fine-tune image sharpness using Live View
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