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Beginner Photography Tips For Better Composition and Framing

by Rachel Gregg
featured, photo & video

better framing how to take better photos

Subtle changes in how you frame and compose the subject in your digital photography can make a huge difference in the overall quality of your shot and quickly make a good photo better. During his Nature and Landscape Photography classJohn Greengo offered up seven easy beginner photography tips for better framing — and great photos. Grab your digital camera (or iphone) and read along to get the know how that will sharpen your photography skills.

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to grasp these simple photography tips and become a better photographer today:

1. Fill the frame

“Most amateurs don’t get close enough and their subject is too small,” says John. By manually controlling the depth of field — actually picking up your feet and putting your camera close to your subject rather than zooming, you’ll get a more confident and captivating shot.

2. Only add supporting elements

Too many objects in one shot will clutter it. John advises you to “carefully add one element a time.” Be selective about exactly what is in your shot in order to keep your most important subject in focus. Remember, you can control more elements in post-processing.

3. Avoid the middle

Though experienced shooters know the rule of thirds by heart, John says that “amateurs almost always put the subject directly in the center.” This common mistake fundamentally reduces overall visual interest; it doesn’t give the eye what it wants, so to speak. Beginner photographers can quickly shoot like a professional photographer by dividing the frame and aligning the subject on an intersection of one of those lines. Shooting horizontally makes it a little easier to get your subject perfectly off-center.

4. Show the best

Leave a little mystery in your shots. When you exclude elements, it leaves viewers wanting more and helps eliminate clutter. John reminds you that, “we don’t need to show everything in the photograph.” Whether you’re shooting with a fancy new dslr camera or an old Nikon or Canon, your photography skills will shine most if you don’t always put it all on the table.


Learn the basics of photography from John Greengo. Watch now.


5. Simplicity

When in doubt, borrow from Coco Chanel and “take one thing off.” Pare your photos down to create a more nuanced look. New photographers sometimes try to create complicated shots, but great shots can be minimal in nature. Don’t worry if you don’t have a new camera either, simplicity can be captured with any equipment.

“Simplicity,” John reminds, “works very well in photographs.”

6. Solve the visual puzzle

When looking for a shot John encourages you to “find an element that makes sense and flows together.” There is a whole world of options available for you – consider a depth of field that will rid any distractions. You can also try increasing the shutter speed to freeze motion for a different point of view.

7. Order out of chaos

Find patterns! It’s a busy world and the human eye loves patterns. John encourages you to “try to find them and eliminate all the clutter – they’ll make very good pictures.” This can work in portrait photography or landscape photography. The aim is to find a unique element that you draw attention to.


Learn the basics of photography from John Greengo. Watch now.


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Rachel Gregg

Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.