Composition is critical to every photograph and there are creative ways to improve your images: for example, this image shows implied diagonals which drive the eye to the center and directly to the lighthouse. This is a very powerful way to get the viewer to look into an image. The clouds point to the lighthouse as do the rocks in the foreground…there is no doubt about where you are supposed to look. There is no escape from the dynamism; the use of diagonals aimed toward your subject is one of the strongest ways to lead the eye.
This is a photograph with a diagram of the Rule of Thirds superimposed. The rule is often overused but if you are a newbie photographer it can help a lot to achieve a better composition. When I began photographing digitally quite a few years ago, it helped me to superimpose the grid on my live view image, so try it and see if it helps with composition.
The two images below demonstrate the use of time (with a 5 stop ND filter) to improve or change an image. The top one is taken at f18, 24mm and 15 sec.
This image was taken with the same aperture and focal length, but with the 5 stop ND: the time was 150 seconds.
The feeling is totally different when an ND is used on an image..in the second image the clouds show more movement as they streak across the sky and the ocean is a lot softer. So it is important to remember that time can change the whole look of an image. Also, any people moving will disappear from the image at 150 seconds.
Who says you can’t use bulls eye images, and have to keep things out of the center? If a subject is round, it works well.
and remember that a spiral can really draw the eye into an image:
Curving shapes are also leading lines into an image; look for them everywhere: the curve of a beach or a stream. In this image of Mistaya canyon, the river leads the eye to the mountain in the distance:
Remember that while it is a good idea to keep the horizon out of the center of an image, sometimes with reflections it is best to keep the horizon dead center.
Balance is very important to an image: light and dark must balance and act as counterpoint to each other. Look at Rembrandt’s images, he is the master of chiaroscuro…he placed light where it was important, yet maintained dark to balance the image. This image has light behind a seastack from the sun, but the dark, larger shapes on the left help to balance it.
Try to incorporate some of these ideas in your images, or not if you choose…but work to improve composition every day; be creative and use your imagination.. be your worst critic…I delete hundreds of images if they are not successful..don’t keep everything you shoot…what’s the point?