Focus On Composition Before The Technical

Michael Laubscher All Authors, Michael Leave a Comment

There are two main divisions when it comes to digital photography.

The more basic side is the compositional side & then you get the more complicated part and this is as many refer to it is, the “Technical Stuff”.

Too many times people get caught up in the mess & fuss of getting the technical stuff right first.

When you are struggling with any challenge that is in front of you, people say you should go back to the basics.

If you are really struggling with this so called “technical stuff”, I encourage you to practice and MASTER the compositional side first, it will already make a world of difference in your photography.

SO…. and before I start, there are no rules when it comes to composition, only guidelines.

What is Composition?

  • Composition is the placement of your subject in a frame.
  • Composition consists of everything you will see in any given frame – a subject & its Environment.
  • The subject should be the center of attention. When I say this it does not mean your subject must be placed in the middle of the frame.
  • The environment should bring the attention to the subject.
  • The rule of thirds is a practice in which the scene is divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the most interesting feature of the subject is placed where a horizontal and vertical division meet.
  • Wherever the subject is placed, put other elements in the photo to ensure it is balanced.
  • Lines can be used to direct the eye through the picture, as long as they ultimately bring the eye to the subject

This might sound quiet confusing at first but have a quick look at this next image;

Michael Laubscher

Practice good composition on subjects that sit still. Sleeping pets, kids ect. From today and onwards, every single time you pick up your camera, have this green grid in mind and as an imaginary layer, place it in the frame you are looking at and this will help you compose your images a bit better. The more you practice this the more natural composition will become and the better your images will start to look.

Have a look at this next image,

Notice the lion is in the middle of the frame yes? This is an example of good composition.

You could either take the image again with that imaginary green grid (rule of thirds) in mind or if you had only taken the one image you can crop it to get better composition like in the image below.

In saying this DO NOT always rely on the crop tool for this! Too often people say I will just crop it, change the white balance or exposure in post processing. If this is your mind set, change it!

Do as much as possible while out in the field because not only will it be less work for you later but you will not lose image quality by cropping the image.

Remember to keep that imaginary grid in mind next time.

About the Author

Michael Laubscher


Haunted by the allure of spectacular wildlife and African sunsets. I am a hunter-gatherer of natural light and candid moments, an appetite whet with a taste of the unknown and the smell of home; “This Is Africa”! I look forward to sharing life long experiences with you and helping you capture them. Please feel free to go check out my Instagram account

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