1. Clear Guidance of the Viewer’s Eye
• Eliminate Distractions
Make it clear what the prominent object of the image is and eliminate distractions. You don’t want to have a red bike in the background of your photo distract from the person in the foreground. Eliminate distractions, keep it simple and focus on the prominent object in the frame.
• Consider Shapes and Lines
Every object in your photo has a certain shape, outline and direction. Skim over your image and determine wether or not you have lines and shapes intersecting in inconvenient ways, like a tree “growing” out of someone’s head. In order for your photo to look clean, you need to consider creating clean shapes, angles and lines throughout the image.
• Know Your Eye Catcher
When you take a photo, what is it that you want your viewer to notice first? Make sure to know what it is, place it in a prominent spot of the frame and have it in focus!
2. Straight Horizon
A straight horizon shows your attention to detail, makes the scene look clean and sorted and therefore shows that you value clarity and take your pictures with care. An image with a crooked horizon will subconsciously unsettle your viewer. So unless you are going for that, make sure to straighten the horizon.
3. Focus on One Object or Idea
It can be so tempting to try and put several great ideas in one photograph. By doing so however, the viewer will not be able to focus on the main object or idea and might be overwhelmed and unable to focus on any one of the objects. Imagine multiple strong elements in a photo like loud voices in one room. You will not be able to hear what any one of the voices have to say if they are all talking loudly at the same time.
But if each person speaks individually you will be able to focus on their words and message. So instead of adding several strong visual elements and have them compete, try to think about what the main idea of your photo is and leave it at that. Just remember the good old rule: less is more!
4. Consciously Placing Objects
Taking a photograph means to really think about where to place objects in a format. Consciously placing yourself and the lens in relation to the object you are photographing will help you place them where you want them to be, rather than taking the photo from the angle you just happen to be at. If you decide to take a photo of the moon in the corner of your image for example, you want to make sure the moon is actually placed the same distance from the top of the frame as it is from the side. This might seem unimportant or minor to you but (and I know I’m repeating myself) it can really show how much you thought about your composition.
5. Even Spacing
By now you might be able to tell that I am all about details. ;) Details are what makes a solid composition stand out. Another one of those details to worry about is even spacing between repetitive objects and proportion in symmetric photographs. It might mean to move around until beautifully planted trees are perfectly spaced out or you are sure you are placed perfectly in the center of a symmetric scene. I guarantee you that taking the time to focus on even spacing will make your photos appear clean and more professional.
Your creative companion,
By the way, the lovely photos on the top part of my Pinterest images are not mine – I wish! I got them over at unsplash.