Ten photo composition tips every student photographer should learn

There are a few basic rules to keep in mind when you are shooting pictures with your iPhone or any other camera. Here’s a list of things to look for and think about when framing your photos.

1. The rule of thirds. Essentially, the rule of thirds means: Don’t put your subject directly in the center of your frame. If your frame was divided in thirds, try to place your subject on one of the outer imaginary lines – not in the center.

Here are a few examples. See how none of the images are directly in the center of the frame?

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The same is true for horizontal photos. Don’t place the horizon of your photo directly in the center of the photograph. Place it above or below it. Here’s an example.

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2. Direction. Make sure your subject is looking into the frame, not out of it.

You wouldn’t want to capture an image of the child turned to the right if the other children are turned to a left. Look for the better shot.

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If the boy below was turned to the left, and there was still a lot of space on the right side, you would want to reframe your photo so that the space follows his motion.

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3. Look for lines and repetition. Try to find lines or repeating patterns when you shoot. Here are a few examples.

This is all about how you angle your camera. Try following the lines instead of shooting something straight on. It makes it more interesting.

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4. Look for shapes.

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6. Try to shoot from different perspectives. Don’t just shoot your subject straight on.

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7. Look for unique ways to frame your photos.

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8. Look for color.

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9. Look for the unusual.

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10. Look for photos that convey or evoke emotion, photos that will make someone laugh and make them cry.

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Bonus tips: Don’t shoot an image if you’re facing the sun. And photojournalists are in the business of telling stories about people with images. Your photos should always contain people if they are stand alone photos and not secondary detail shots.

LaReeca Rucker is a multimedia journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi. You can email here.

All images © 1992-2015 LaReeca Rucker

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