Learn About Composition
You’ve probably heard about how important it is to compose a shot properly, and I bet if you’ve ever read a photography manual you would have come across the ‘rule of thirds‘. Good composition can be the difference between an average shot and an award-winning image.
According to some guidelines, it’s best not to put your subject in the middle of the shot, unless you are taking a close-up portrait. Instead try and play around with the rule of thirds and go from there.
This concept is where you divide your image into 9 even squares (many cameras actually have this feature built into their display options). Then what you do is you place the subjects and points of interest along the lines and squares. For example don’t place the horizon in the dead centre of the image (unless it’s a reflection shot).
Here’s an example of how this looks:
The idea of the rule of thirds is that this is a mathematical idea of what our eyes naturally find pleasing. So it’s good practice to incorporate this method into your shots.
Another thing to look for is leading lines that naturally draw your eye around the photo, as well as angles and shapes. Have a river flowing from the side of the shot up to a waterfall on the top left for example, or the foreground bending around, leading the eye towards a church at the top of the photo. This is a skill that you’ll learn with more practice.
An important thing to remember is that rules are meant to be broken, and there is absolutely no reason that placing your subject in the middle of your frame won’t work. Get used to analysing your shots with the rule of thirds, but please don’t use it as gospel if you think a different composition would work.