Better Travel Photography Composition as Easily as 1,2,3


Have you ever looked at photos posted online by friends and wondered how they manage to make them look so good? Exactly how they do it may not always be obvious, but the key to better photos is to improve your own photo skills.

If you haven’t read our best travel photography tips, check those out before moving on. Now, let’s build upon that foundation with three simple rules used by the pros to achieve better photography composition.

better photography composition

1. Rule of Thirds

This is a simple but powerful rule to improve photography composition. On most modern cameras, you will often see two vertical and horizontal lines intersect to divide the frame. The four points of intersection are the natural focal points of the human eye. As so, arranging your key elements to fit these key points will only make your photos more appealing.

This is particularly useful when shooting landscapes.  To achieve the perfect shot, align the horizon with one of the horizontal lines. When shooting portraits, capture faces along the inner square formed by the four focal points.

Rule of thirds for better photography composition
photo credit: ~ Pil ~ via photopin cc

2. Symmetry and photography composition

Symmetry and patterns are powerful tools in photography composition. The mirror effect they provide divides the frame into smaller, harmonious chunks. The reflection of a landscape in a nearby water source is an illustration of this technique. Symmetry is key to positive aesthetics, be it in painting, music, or photography. Read more on using symmetry and reflection to achieve amazing photography composition.

Symmetry is a powerful travel photography trick

3. Diagonal rule

Use diagonal lines to draw the viewer’s attention to a particular point in your frame. Let your imagination and creativity guide your art — for instance, when shooting fall foliage, that line can be the line of trees. Fences, rivers, and sidewalks are also great examples of diagonal lines around you that you could use. Converging lines are even more effective, as they make the focal point even more obvious.

When shooting portraits, or in the absence of actual physical lines, draw mental representations. Check out this article on the use of the diagonal rule.

photography composition - diagonal rule
photo credit: Jose Javier Martin Espartosa via photopin cc

These are just 3 simple photography composition rules that anyone can try. What other rules do you know that you could suggest? Tell us more in the comment box below.