train railway near trees


As stated in the previous presentation, the thing we are trying to accomplish here is “how to “see” a photograph. There are a lot of professional photographers that I have noticed as well, that are noticing that most people fail to “see” a photograph when it is right in front of them.

Please look at yesterday’s blog for valuable information about how to “see” a photo.

Today, I want to tell you another way to “see” a photograph, and it seems to come easy if you know all the rules of composition. Memorize them, and then as you look at a scene, you will try to determine if that will fit in with the rules of composition.

Let’s just go over these again. I am sure I have done a blog on this, but, we will repeat it with new pictures for better understanding.

Fill the frame in your picture:

If your subject is in danger of distraction because of a busy background, make sure you crop in close to the main subject and have the subject fill the frame. This works especially well with portraits outside. When you go outside, you are always in danger of something in the background that will distract from the main subject, so remember to get in close.

Don’t cut off limbs:

Don’t cut off the ears.

If you look at rule number one, it gives you the impression to get in close. But, don’t get too close that you cut off an appendage, whether it’s an animal or person.

Understand the rule of thirds:

Rule Of Thirds
Subjects should be placed in one of the intersecting quadrants.

The most basic of all photography rules, the rule of thirds, is all about dividing your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet. It’s a technique that works well for landscapes as you can position the horizon on one of the horizontal lines that sit in the lower and upper part of the photograph while you’re vertical subjects (trees etc.) can be placed on one of the two vertical lines.

Use Frames if possible:

Framing around your subject is a beautiful thing to do!

We are often surrounded with many opportunities to “frame” a subject naturally. If you have that opportunity, then do it. But, remember, in learning to “see” a photo opportunity, you need to be looking for it.

In scenery, look for something natural to frame with.

As you can see in the photo above, having something to “frame” a photo will make it even that much better.

Make the most of leading lines:

Finding leading lines in scenery photos will improve it drastically.
Another example of leading lines. It makes a powerful statement in composition.

Our eyes are unconsciously drawn along lines in images so by thinking about how, where and why you place lines in your images will change the way your audience view it. A road, for example, starting at one end of the shot and winding its way to the far end will pull the eye through the scene. You can position various focal points along your line or just have one main area focus at the end of your line that the eye will settle on. Shapes can be used in a similar way, for example, imagine a triangle and position three points of focus at the end of each point where the lines of the shape meet. By doing so you create balance in your shot as well as subtly guiding the eye.

Simplify your photo to “know” your focus point:

Make sure your subject is in focus, and the rest won’t conflict with

Make sure the subject in your photo is sharp, and make sure the surrounding area does not interfere with the main subject. Do not try to have more than 1 thing in focus. It will just be confusing to the viewer.

Watch the background:

The famous sign post growing out of the head, is a good one to watch for.
If you have a background that could easily distract from your subject, make sure you throw it out of focus with your depth of field.

Portraits, especially, make sure the background will not distract from the portrait. Know how to control your depth of field so you can accomplish this.


The key to really “seeing” a photo is to know the rules of composition above. Once you have those memorized, then you will be looking for those photo opportunities more often. Practice, Practice, Practice. A wise photographer once said: “you won’t get good at photography until you have shot 10,000 photos,

train railway near trees
Photo by Krivec Ales on

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