Elements of Photography & Composition

This chapter includes information about:

  • Basic rules of visual composition
  • Tips for taking and managing digital photos
Which composition rules do these photographs use? (Photos by Neil Kremer/Flickr Creative Commons)

These readings will help convey the principles of digital image organization, composition, and production.

1. The Five Basic Rules of Shot Composition (Smash & Peas)

What makes a photo a good photo? This succinct list illustrates five important concepts: simplicity, rule of thirds, balance, framing and lines.

2. Digital Photography Composition Tips (Digital Photography School)

This guide expands on the concepts of shot composition with helpful tips about how to make use of these concepts in your own work. Make sure to read about the Rule of Thirds, Getting Backgrounds Right and How to Use Converging Lines. All the entries are short and helpful.

3. Chapter 8: Shooting and Managing Digital Photos

This chapter from Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive by Mark Briggs explains the basics of digital photography and how to format photos for the web. Some of this information is now a little outdated since technology has improved so quickly, but the advice still applies.

4. Seven Tips For Less Terrible Smartphone Photos (Gizmodo)

For most people – even photographers – the camera we use most often is a smartphone. This list explains simple tips to improve the quality of smartphone photos.

Photography is also about creativity. Watch this short Cooperative of Photography video that shows ideas for creating interesting smartphone images without Photoshop: