Photographic Composition

Techniques to Alter Perspective

*Most images taken on the Boardwalk at Caloundra on a morning walk.

Photos: © Garry Benson 2013

Dam Square, Amsterdam. Image Credit: © Garry Benson 2013

Dam Square, Amsterdam. Image Credit: © Garry Benson 2013

Walking down the tracks allowed a classic ‘leading lines’ composition.

A lot of the time, people miss a well composed shot simply because they didn’t take the time to seek out a slightly better alternative. When you have found a scene worth shooting, don’t forget to consider a few ways that you could improve the composition. It’s easier than you might think.

Go for a Walk
Often finding a better place to shoot a scene or object from will give you a better alternative for composing the shot. If possible, take a walk around and look at the scene from different viewpoints. Consider which spot gives you the best chance to compose the shot with good composition rules in mind and whether any of those rules are worth breaking.

View Point
This fits in with the walk around tip, but look for places that could offer a different view point of the subject you are shooting. Can you shoot from a higher position? A lower one? This can often get you a more dramatic shot and it is the reason you often see photographers contorting themselves into some very uncomfortable positions.

Tilt the Camera
Simply moving the angle of the camera up and down then left and right will show you what you could get. Does the foreground add or detract from the scene? Can you omit distracting elements like tree branches from the edge of the composition? What if you move closer & look up?

Horizontal or Vertical
Will your shot be better served by moving the camera vertically or horizontally? Don’t forget that you can also consider how you might crop the shot while you are shooting it.

Fill the Frame – You can either do this by walking closer to the object you a photographing or, if that is not possible, using a zoom. Filling the frame of your shot usually results in better composition and more emetic images.

Image Credit: © Garry Benson 2013

Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Image Credit: © Garry Benson 2013

Image Credit: © Garry Benson 2013

Idiot Jetskier, Candidasa lagoon, east coast of Bali. Image Credit: © Garry Benson 2013

A lot of this just comes down to surveying your shooting environment and considering the angle before putting the viewfinder to your eye. Be aware. Think about the subject you are shooting. And remember that there are always alternative ways to compose a photograph.


Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

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