Photography Composition Tips: Part One

I’ve been asked a few times recently about photo composition, so I thought I’d write a post on it.
These tips are simply guidelines to follow while you’re working on ‘strengthening’ your eye and building your own style. They are useful to keep in mind and work on, until they become second nature to you and you don’t have to think about it anymore.
I usually feel like I compose my photos subconsciously, without really thinking about it, which actually made it quite hard to write this post and figure out what composition techniques I use.
Of course there are a lot more tips on photo composition out there, but these tips are the ones I genuinely use and recommend working on (in no specific order). It’s probably best to practise one at a time, applying each of them in different situations. If you do that, I promise it will all come naturally after a while.

1. Fill the frame
Sometimes it can be hard to know how much space your subject should take up in the frame. If you’re wondering whether to step back a little, or move in closer, think about what’s surrounding your subject. If there’s only boring or distracting stuff around, it’s usually a good idea to get closer. It makes it easier to get rid of the background, and to really make your subject stand out. Try both zooming in, as well as physically moving closer.
In the photo above of the elephant/squid street art, there were only cars and other buildings around - so nothing that would enhance or add to the main subject.

2. Diagonals
Diagonal lines add movement and drama to a picture, making it more lively, dynamic and ‘casual’ (not quite as static and calm as vertical or horizontal lines). You can easily achieve this through using a wide-angle lens, or when looking up (e.g. as in the photo of the house tops below).

3. Repetition
This one can be a really strong technique, creating patterns and shapes in your picture and really focusing the eye on one single subject. But instead of only one single element (e.g. fig), there are now several of them. Photographing a single fig for example would be a lot harder, you’d have to really think about where in the frame to position it, what else would be in the frame, what’s in the background, etc. So having loads of them fill the frame (see tip number one) makes for a more powerful image.

4.Rule of Thirds
This one might be the best known or most popular composition ‘rule’. Basically imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically), so you end up with 9 parts. Now you have this grid in mind (which should show up in your camera’s viewfinder in a similar way as well), so you can place your subject in the intersections or along the lines, instead of the centre. Your photo will become more balanced and aesthetically appealing to the eye. We’re naturally more likely to look at one of the intersection points first, than at the middle of an image - so try using this technique to your advantage.

I hope these tips have been helpful so far. I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with applying them, and in what ways you put them into practise - let me know!


  1. Been though I took photography classes, read tons of books and tutorials, your advice is the best.

  2. aw, you are good you are good you are good! these are so helpful and the photos are so pretty!

  3. Just wanted to let you know your blog is A+. I only found it a few minutes ago and I already love it. Your blog will definitely turn into my go-to-guide from now on! (:
    Bian, Mortem Blonde

    1. Thank you, Bian! I'm always glad if it's helpful. Really appreciate you stopping by :)

  4. Wow. Thanks! I love these examples and explanations. So helpful as always!