Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition: Simplicity
|The first and perhaps the most important
guideline is simplicity. Look for ways to give the center of interest in
your pictures the most visual attention. One way is to select uncomplicated backgrounds
that will not steal attention from your subjects.
|Let's see how we can improve this photo
by looking for visual simplicity. First let's decide if we want our center of interest to
be the public telephone, the bridge, or the cactus.
|We chose the cactus as the main subject. And by moving in
closer and using the plain sky as the background, we have simplified and improved the
appearance of this photograph.
|We're certainly close enough to our subject in both
pictures, but the busy background on the left camouflages the seagull. Just change your
point of view slightly and, presto, your seagull stands with visual prominence against the
|Compose your photograph so that your reason for taking the
picture is clearly seen. Arrange other parts of the picture area in such a way as to
complement what you choose to be the center of interest. Most of us would prefer the
picture on the right because the parking lot tends to contradict the feeling of antiquity
related to this mission.
|Remember: we're talking about composition simplicity, and
here's another decision you'll probably have to make. How much of your subject should you
include, and should it be framed horizontally as we have done here?
|Or perhaps you'd prefer to frame your subject in the
vertical format, as we've indicated with these frame lines. The choice is yours.
|So, you can simplify your pictures and strengthen your
center of interest by selecting uncomplicated backgrounds, avoiding unrelated subjects,
and moving in close. If you want to make your center of interest even more dynamic, place
it slightly off center in your frame as we have done with this young artist.
|Generally, pictures with subjects directly in the center
tend to be more static and less interesting than pictures with off-center subject
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