Digital Composition for Newbies

Posted on January 8, 2009. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

You got yourself a neat camera, you have read the manuals, you know the basics of photography.. now what? Well, the next essential step for you to focus on is the composition. Proper composition knowledge can turn a nice snap into a great image that could win photo contests in one try.

There are three main factors to consider to create a good composition: the subject, the composition and the light. Every photo contest is determined by how good a picture is composed with every little details carefully assessed to blend in the whole.

Let’s begin on the subject. The subject to usually referred to as the focal point. In photography contests, its one that captures the attention of the judges as well as the viewers. The subject grabs your eye and everything else enhances, or at least, doesn’t detract from it. So, usually we take our camera, aim for the subject and press the shutter. But after we saw the snap what reveals is nice but boring image of our subject. In order to win photography contests, we have to stimulate the audience and put some twist on the image by re-composing the way we capture the view before us. We can actually make the image more pleasing to the brain by doing so.

Rules of thirds – All photo competition entries make use of this technique to enhance its quality. The rule of thirds is so commonly used in photography that many cameras have it marked out in the viewfinder or on the screen. The image is divided into thirds across and thirds down. A tic-tac-toe grid. The subject of the image is placed on one of the 4 crossing points. The horizon is usually placed on or near the upper or lower line of the grid.

The rules of the thirds is a good technique to win photo competition. By using it, the photographer can deliver a powerful and almost subliminal message with the image. But again, there is no reason to stick with the rules of thirds. You can bet that every type of composition that works well has a name somewhere, so experiment. Picture contests are gateways for photographers to discover new techniques and develop their skills to its maximum potential.

Finally, light. Picture contests are also ruled by good utilization of light. The various times of the day for instance, try looking at the late afternoon sky with sunglasses on, even if it’s stormy clouds, to see the difference a filter over your lens will make to a scene. Using a filter will bring out those great shafts of light that are often almost invisible to the naked eye, transforming a landscape. Light causes awesome effects which causes shadows and reflections
that affects wellness of the image as a whole and should be greatly considered when composing.

To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to


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