How to Improve Your Photography Composition with Any Camera

Composition has the power to make or break your photos. Photographer Marcin Lewandowski demonstrates in this short video:

Camera technology has evolved at a mind-boggling pace over the last few years. So much so that even the simplest of cameras on the market will outmatch a professional model from not so long ago. But the objective of this video is to look beyond your hardware. Lewandowski uses his smartphone to illustrate all of the composition techniques he recommends.

Frame the Scene with Your Fingers

better composition vs better camera

Look through a rectangle created by your fingers.

The camera frame is a rectangular shape, and whatever you shoot is captured within that rectangular space. A good way to visualize your image is to create a rectangle (as demonstrated above) with your fingers and look at a scene through it.

This allows you to look at something interesting from the perspective of your camera. You can practice this with or without a camera around. It’s an interesting way to look for ideas, pre-visual an image, and store references for your ‘visual vocabulary’—as Lewandowski puts it. He uses this visual vocabulary later on when he uses his camera to shoot images.

Know the Rule of Thirds

basic composition tips

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is easy to understand. Look at the picture above. The frame has been cut into nine equal pieces using two vertical and two horizontal lines. Many cameras have a feature that shows these gridlines in-camera.

The fundamental goal of using this rule is to place the most important aspect of your image at one of the intersecting points.

golden rule in photography

Golden Rule

A modification of the rules of thirds is the phi grid. This also divides a frame into nine boxes but in a slightly different way, as demonstrated below.

phi grid in composition

The Phi Grid

You can check your existing images to see if they comply with the golden rule by going into Lightroom’s Development panel and clicking on the Crop tool (Shortcut R). Additionally, you can press ‘O’ and cycle between the various views.

Use of Fibonacci sequence in photography

Checking composition in Lightroom

You can also change the direction of the Fibonacci grid direction by pressing Shift + ‘O’.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you to get a better understanding of how to improve your photography. What other composition techniques do you use?

For further training: The Understanding Composition eBook at 75% Off

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