photography composition using perspective

Take your photography composition to a new level quickly. Using the right perspective is one of the elements of composition in photography that is often overlooked. This article will help you get a jump starting on this composition principle. At the bottom of this post is a list of further resources for principles of composition in photography.

Example-rule of thirds-composition ruleTypical example of the rule of thirds

How does your choice of perspective dramatically changes your photograph?

Often we think of composition in photography as a set of rules to follow. Certainly there are rules, such as the rule of thirds, using balance, lines and geometric shapes that are used to create a good photo.

Composition is more often a feel you get that may be formed by other design elements such as textures, depth of field, lighting and patterns.

I am sharing a few photo tips that I used during a recent trip to watch the US Open Tennis tournament in Flushing New York. It is my intention that these ideas will help you take better photos.

I used three different perspectives to get different photography compositions in these photos of the very large and impressive Unisphere. The Unisphere, designed to celebrate the beginning of the space age, was conceived and constructed as the symbol of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

Almost all digital cameras have a zoom lens. This often gives you the ability to change perspective. So this tip is simply to use your zoom lens and change your viewpoint to change perspectives while photographing your subject.

The picture on the left was taken with a wide angle lens setting and the camera down low and close to the flowers in the foreground. In the middle photo, I used more of a normal setting and backed a little. This brought the water fountains into view that surround this impressive structure.

The third perspective is much farther back with the camera lens zoomed in to a telephoto setting.Changing your camera distance and your lens setting at the same time can have a major effect on how objects in the photograph relate to each other with respect to their size.

Which composition do you like? I prefer the middle one in this case. I like the way the flowers act as a base to the Unispere, and don't obscure the fountains from your view.

photography Composition Tips - Use Framing Devices

Another tip is to look for framing devices. I found the exact perspective to include the tree branches in this photo.

Framing devices are objects included in your composition that surround the main subject.

I positioned myself so that these trees acted as natural borders to frame in the Unispere. I tried a few spots with a few different zoom lens settings until I found one I like.

The blue, September sky and the few white puffy clouds made it a great day for having fun with my camera.

Photography Composition 1

Another photo composition tip is to sometimes shoot things off center.

By moving to my left, the grass that is now revealed acts like a leading line, bringing our eyes into the image. I chose this perspective to include the flowers in the foreground.

If I had take a more distant perspective, the flowers would have been much smaller in the composition, giving the photo a completely different emphasis.

Although I broke one of the rules of good composition by dividing the picture frame in half with the horizon, the water fountains break up that line and connect the top and bottom of the photo.

I also "cheated" a bit by darkening the sky with editing software, along the edges, to center our attention on the Unisphere.

Burning in is a photo editing technique I use quite a bit in Adobe Photoshop. Be careful. It is a Common Photo Mistake to use too much retouching.

Photography Composition - 2

Another tip for taking digital photography is too use diagonals when composing your pictures.

This rows of flowers converge at an angle and lead our view toward the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It's not a great photo because the shadowed underside of the stadium's seating isn't great subject matter. However it is a good example of using diagonals and also the use of the composition Rule of Thirds.

The photography rule of thirds is so widely used that I wrote a second article called Photography Rule of Thirds to better illustrate it.

Sometimes it is good to Break One of the Photography Rules of Composition

And here is one final tip for photography composition.Break The Rules once in awhile.

I broke three rules in this photo:

  • I divided my photo in half by having the curb travel across the middle of my photo.
  • I had the sun illuminating the back of my subject.
  • I shot with a crooked horizon.

I actually like the resulting photograph. The slanted curb creates a bit of a diagonal. The backlighting on my subject creates an interesting silhouette.

The manhole in the bottom of the photo creates a contrast. It's a contrast between it's smallness and the largeness of the sphere, and a contrast with the direct reflective lighting and the backlighting on the Unispere.

The curb separates the natural smoothness of the sky and the man-made pattern of the brick. I could also have changed the photography composition dramatically by coming in closer to the manhole to make it bigger and more important in the photograph.

I have attended the US Tennis Open several times, but embarrassingly enough, as a photographer had never explored the south entrance to the stadium complex.

My old college friend gave me the photo opportunity tip about the Unisphere and the surrounding park. It was a great opportunity to use and share some photography composition tips.

I had a blast, enjoyed the beautiful weather and only missed about 40 minutes of world class tennis.

Do you know anybody else who likes taking photos? You can share these tips by copying the html code below and pasting it on your website, your FaceBook, your blog or in an email. Pass it on.

Photography Composition 3 - Black and White Photo

Shoot more photos. Watch less TV


p.s. This makes a pretty cool abstract black and white.

more resources related to photography composition

Photo Composition. If you'd like to read some more on Photo Composition, here are 10 specific ideas to try relating to composition.

Photo Composition Tips for a puppy portrait. Use of color, perspective and Props.

Composition in Photography. Here is an article explaining the use of balance and patterns and how they relate.

Photography Rule of thirds. How you can use the rule of thirds when you do your photo editing. This article has sample photographs to illustrate how to use this rule and improve your photography composition.

Break the Rule of Thirds in Photography. Should all composition rules be followed blindly without questioning? I think not. Sometimes it's good to break the rules.

Unrelated photography topics

Photographing the moon. More information on how these composition tips apply to photography of the moon.

Moonlight Photos. This is a second article on moonlight photos. It has specific critiques of several photos relating to photography composition.

Do you have an interest in good photography composition techniques for family portrait poses? Read this:  Family Portrait ideas

If you prefer a few composition tips on portrait poses of young children, try this article: More Portrait Poses

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