Use these 2 major photo tips to take better, more interesting photos.

This will also help you receive higher scores in photo contests.


First Photo Tip

Compose photos so that the image meets and then holds the viewer’s eye.

We read from left to right. So our view enters on the left and then travels about in the frame.

For example, consider how your eye reacts to these two photos.

Photo #1 (Looking to the Left)

Chipping Sparrow, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in 2 Major Photo Tips

Chipping Sparrow Looking to the Left

Here, the bird looks toward the left.

In doing so, the bird meets the viewer’s eye as it enters the frame. Then the body of the bird holds the viewer’s eye.

Photo #2 (Looking to the Right)

Chipping Sparrow, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in 2 Major Photo Tips

Chipping Sparrow Looking to the Right

Here the bird is looking to the right.

In doing so, the bird sends the viewer’s eye out of the frame.

How to Do This

Ideally, design photos so that they hold the viewer’s eye.

When that’s impossible (for example, the bird refuses to turn around), just flip the photo in post processing.

Of course, be realistic. Flipping people’s faces, landmarks, signs, logos, and such will result in logical errors.


Second Photo Tip

Honor the Rule of Thirds.

Imagine that your frame is divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.

Then place an important element of your photo on either an intersection or line. If possible, use the intersections on the right because they are in the area that holds the viewer’s eye.

For example, consider how your eye reacts to these two photos:

Photo #3 (At an Intersection)

Western Bluebird, Female, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in , in 2 Major Photo Tips

Western Bluebird, Female, at the Intersection of Thirds

Here, the bird is at the top right intersection.

Most likely, you found it easier to locate the bird when it was placed at this intersection.

Photo #4 (Up in a Corner)

Western Bluebird, Female, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in , in 2 Major Photo Tips

Western Bluebird, Female, in Far Corner

Here the bird is in the far top corner.

I suspect the bird seems a bit awkward here.

How to Do This

Compose scenes so that an item of interest appears on an intersection or line.

Also, pull back a bit so that your frame contains more of the scene than you need. Then you can make adjustments by cropping in post processing.

The key is to think in terms of thirds. Then you’ll automatically: 1) Seek out the main element in a scene, and 2) Put it in a prime area of interest.


One More Thing

Recognize that both of these 2 Major Photo Tips are guidelines.

Sometimes, in creating art, we depart from rules.

So experiment.

Try different compositions and different positions.

Then, if you choose to do something that’s different, know why you are doing it.

Much success,

Steve Kaye


See samples here:

Birds Up Close (Close up photos of birds)