5 ways to compose an image for supreme impact: easy tips to train your creative eye

Compose an image with impact: 01 Shoot low for portraits

Compose an image with impact: 02 Shoot high for cityscapes

Compose an image with impact: 02 Shoot high for cityscapes

Get out of the confines of city streets, and find a high viewpoint for sweeping cityscapes

What’s the angle?
You’ll need to find a high vantage point to get this type of shot, so look out for church towers that you are allowed to go up, tall skyscrapers with a viewing platform or even hills above a city.

For sweeping cityscapes you can point your camera out towards the horizon, while for more abstract images, you should point it downwards, and look for shapes and patterns in the grid of streets and buildings below.

When it works

Most cities will look much more expansive and sprawling when you can see the extent of the building stretching to the horizon.

Getting up high is also a great option at dusk, as the lights of the buildings and streets can produce a patchwork of colourful illuminations.

SEE MORE: Camera composition tips – how to shoot 1 subject 6 different ways

Why it works

Shooting from above the city means that you can see much more of the area than you can at street level, and impose some sort of order on the city below.

Cities typically look chaotic and cluttered from street level, so by getting up, you can capture a cleaner and more satisfying view (the ultimate example of this is how ordered and inviting cities look when viewed from a plan at night, when all the chaos and clutter is reduced to twinkling lights arranged in simple geometric patterns).

Things to watch out for
Safety is paramount, so make sure that your viewpoint is in a safe location.  Also, if you are using a tower or building as a viewpoint at dusk, make sure that it will be open at the right time.

If tripods are permitted, use one (this is especially important at dusk, when camera shake is likely to be an issue).

A tripod will also enable you to set a very slow shutter speed to blur our traffic trails, which is another way of imposing order on the chaos below.

How to compose an image with impact: 01 Shoot low for portraits
How to compose an image with impact: 02 Shoot high for cityscapes
How to compose an image with impact: 03 Shoot close for sports
How to compose an image with impact: 04 Shoot upwards for abstracts
How to compose an image with impact: 05 Shoot long for landscapes

READ MORE

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