1 USING THE RULE OF THIRDS
With the image divided into a 3-by-3 grid, try placing the horizon so that it runs across one of the dividing lines, or position the subject or important detail at a point where the lines cross. You don’t have to be precise; try using the off-centre autofocus points in the viewfinder as a rough guide. You should avoid following this ‘rule’ religiously, otherwise you run the risk of all your pictures starting to look too similar.
2 ORIENTATION MATTERS
Many subjects will work equally well in both landscape and portrait, although tall, thin objects often work better in a vertical shot because there’s less ‘dead’ space left in the image. A horizontal orientation is usually better if you want to show a subject moving across a scene. Also consider the aspect ratio. Most digital cameras shoot in 3:2 or 4:2 format, although you can switch to 1:1, 16:9 and other aspect ratios. Shoot in raw and crop the image when you process it if you need to.
3 USE SPACE TO IMPROVE YOUR COMPOSITION
How much space do you need to leave for the principal subject in a photo? Well, it’s often far better to leave a little bit too much than not enough, as it’s a straightforward job to crop an image in software to create a tighter composition later. This is particularly true with action shots; a cramped frame where the subject is pushed up against the edge of the picture is unlikely to be successful. If you find that can’t get close enough to a subject, such as the hot air balloon in this image, then try using large areas of blank space, contrasting colours or natural frames to make the subject stand out.