As promised here is the second part of composition in Brief.  I hope it is useful to you.

7. Rule of Thirds.  One of the classic rules of photography.  You can hold it in your imagination rather than construct an actual grid – some cameras now have one included in their menu so check if there is one on yours. If not imagine a grid like the old noughts and crosses one where the lines divide the image space in thirds both vertically and horizontally.  Where the lines cross one another is said to be the best point to place either subject or object.  When taking landscape images the old rule says place your horizon line on one of the thirds lines not half way up the image or lower or higher than these.  I’ve had some great images by ignoring this but it is one of those things again where if you learn these rules until they are instinctive then you can sometimes choose to ignore them. Try placing upright subjects like towers or single tees on one of the vertical two thirds lines.

8. Lines which lead the eye towards your focal point are a useful tool.  A row of fence posts – straight or curved – or an inviting path leading from one corner into the scene  both help with composition.  Sometimes these dictate whether your choice of format is vertical or horizontal.  Breakwaters are great for this as a ‘rows’ of rocks disappearing beneath the waves in a secluded bay.

9. Try excluding any extraneous detail – simple can often be best and adds to rather than takes away from the dramatic effect of the image. When we are working like this we are reaching out for an emotional contact with the person viewing the image – putting in too much information causes overload a bit like our everyday internet lives!  And it can be a distraction. Shoot a few still life images and experiment with this.

11. Try changing lenses to see what effect this has. Shooting in telephoto condenses the image making the distance to the horizon look less; a wide angle lens has the opposite effect. 

12. Look for natural frames like an opening in the trees besides a lake or a natural rock formation which holds and supports the image you are making.  Man-made frames like windows (particularly in derelict buildings), doorways or the arches of a building like a church can frame and lead the eye to the focal point.

13. Add in something which gives a context for the image if at all possible.  If taking fishing boats try including a heap of nets drying by the side of the boat or if your central idea is based around a portrait/person then perhaps try including something which indicates what that person does eg if an artist get him or her to hold some brushes.

And lastly but not least – one unbreakable golden rule – JUST ENJOY!

Composition