The saying goes that the rule of photography is that there are no rules. But as always, there are guidelines that when followed will showcase the difference between a photograph and a simple snapshot.
Rule of Thirds
If there was one rule for photographers to live by, it would be this one. It's straight-forward and leaves no room for errors or misinterpretations, making it a favorite for many. The Rule of Thirds is about dividing your image into nine equal parts by drawing thirds verticals and then horizontally. You are supposed to place the subject and elements of importance along or at the intersections of these lines. This gives the picture balance and interest without always having that centered subject.
Balancing Elements is a concept important to everything. Be it math, art, science, and especially photography. In photography when using the Rule of Thirds, you may end up with a space of your photograph feeling empty. To balance this, include a less-significant element to that particular spot giving the image equal “visual weight”.
Our eyes are always drawn to lines. Knowing this, we can use lines to change or further enhance your image when taking it. Including zigzags, curvy, straight, and or diagonals lines can make a enrich the photograph's composition.
Symmetry and Patterns
The human eye has always gone symmetry pleasing in all forms. However, sometimes adding a slight break in the symmetry of an image creates tension, which always makes the image more though-provoking and intriguing. This can be done by adding an unexpected elements to a photograph, one that seems unique but not completely out of place.
Many of us lack patience. Patience is needed when considering the viewpoint of a photograph. This means taking pictures up close, far away, from the right, left, front, back, underneath and above. Each view provides us with a unique and sometimes completely different point of view.
The background of a picture is a crucial element of the composition of the picture. Often times, we choose a interesting subject only to have it blend into the busy background and lose its importance. To fix this, it is a good idea to have a relatively plain background to enhance the subject. After all, though the human eye can pick out the multitude of elements, a camera cannot.
Since all photographs are two-dimension, a photographer has to carefully select the elements that go into his or her picture so that they can convey the depth of their subject matter. This can be done organizing the picture by foreground, middle ground, and background. Another useful technique is overlapping, where you intentional partial obscure one item to portray another. This is recognized by the human eye as depth giving the photograph a sense of the third dimension.
Framing a photograph allows you to contain your subject and crop pot all the other elements in its surrounding. For nature scenes, trees do an excellent job of this. By framing you photograph, the result is a more focused image which will naturally bring your eye to the focal point.
With today's technology and resources, you no longer have to continuously look through the lens of a camera until we see that perfect shot. We can take as many pictures as we want, tens of the same object knowing the slightest variation can make the biggest difference. So try things out, don't shy away from unknown techniques or strange approaches. You have no idea what you'll get until you try it out yourself.