4 Composition & Framing Tips for Digital Cameras

Learn four composition tips for your digital camera from commercial photographer Dan Bracaglia in this digital photography lesson from Howcast.

So really the best way to learn composition is to just go out and shoot. In my opinion, good composition at least the way I see it is the frame is going to be filled completely and the entirety of the frame is going to keep your interest and draw your interest.

It might be a juxtaposition between two things. It might be a lot of things, your eye wanders around. It might be one place where the entire photo draws you into that spot. It’s just important to have no area in the photograph that’s just sort of space that’s not really needed.

And that’s not to say negative space is bad because negative space is very, very important. It helps to balance a lot of photographs. I’m talking more about what I would call dead space. Space that doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t add anything. That’s what you want to try to avoid.

Another little trick for getting good composition is, and this is something that I do also, is I like to shoot wide and then crop in and compose the photo afterwards. Now, a lot of professional photographers will sort of scoff at that idea and say, "Oh, you got to crop in camera. That’s the only way to do it." But photography’s a learning experience and with each photograph you take you’re going to get better. And there’s really nothing wrong with cropping after the fact.

Obviously going for that perfect composition the first time is a great way to go, but don’t feel like you’re tied down to that. What I did when I was first learning, what worked for me compositionally speaking was I would go out with an idea in my head of how I wanted to shoot every scene that day and that’s what I would do.

And this is an example I did recently. I was up in East Harlem, just shooting around. And I wanted to frame everything split down the middle, juxtaposing one side to the other. Not the rule of thirds, but this is how I shot that day in particular and it happened to work for me.

And it’s a great thing to do. You know come up with something that you want to achieve. Maybe it’s not split down the middle. Maybe it’s you want to balance something on the right. Maybe you want to follow the rule of thirds. But decide that and go out and do it and practice it and see what works and what doesn’t work.

Keep in mind that there is really no formula for good composition. Photography is about experimenting. It’s about having fun. It’s about seeing what you can create. It’s certainly not about having rules. So I would just encourage you know, figure out what you like and go for it.