10 Common Composition Mistakes in Photography

1. The subject is located in the middle of the frame

Sometimes, a subject that is central works well, but you’d prefer to shoot it from the opposite side, as explained by the “rule of thirds”. Specific cameras, but there are many nowadays, can show the grid on the viewfinder or screen that has the appearance of a “grid” that can help divide the scene into three thirds, vertically and horizontally. The subject of the picture should be placed in a position where the grid lines intersect or in a complete third, with the rest of the elements should be aligned with those grid lines.

It is essential to be aware that the rules of composition are an excellent tool to use as a base point moving away from centrally composed images but remember that it’s sometimes worth breaking the rules in order to be creative and create something that is more engaging… Let your emotions speak to you.

2. Subject is too small within the frame, and you ended up putting too much.

Our brains are excellent at focusing on an object and not focusing on the surroundings of the scene; this almost isn’t the case when you look at a photograph. When you take a picture, take a moment to think about whether it will look better if you were to move closer (or increase the zoom of your lens) to ensure that the subject is in the frame and clearly commands the focus.

The more information you add to an image, the more complicated and challenging it is to grasp and comprehend the concept that you are trying to convey.

3. There is nothing but the foreground.

It’s always beneficial to include something in the image’s foreground in order to provide the image with more depth and draw the eye of the viewer and create a sense of scale, especially in a scene or still-life images. Don’t waste your space with anything but a blatant message to the viewers.

Rocks, wood logs, flowers and tide marks in the sand or in waves, for instance, should always bring some interest to the background. If you’re planning an image of still life, it is essential to set things in the appropriate spot.

4. Always shooting standing up or straight on

You have to be able to play with the perspective! Take a knee and then move to the other side, lie down, or climb to a better viewpoint. Most of us are too focused on getting a subject in front of us that we do not consider how we are planning to capture it. If you photograph a subject straight-on, you’ll capture its appearance. However, it is possible that you will not capture any atmosphere or context. It is essential to experiment!

5. This includes a background that is not good.

We discussed it in our beginner’s tips. We covered it in our tips for beginners, and we’re going to emphasize it once more because of its importance. Always look at your background. It is essential to not overlook the background clutter, and this is easy to fix when we shift to one side, choose another angle, switch the lens, or opt for an aperture larger (to make the background appear blurred).

Be familiar with the practice of looking at the scene before framing your shot to identify the most suitable background and location for shooting.

6. Incorrect application in depth-of-field

Depth of Field is an essential and effective tool in composition, as it determines what elements are visible (clearly evident) in the photo and draws our attention to them.

A small aperture can create a lot of depth of field. It is typically ideal for macros and landscapes (it is necessary due to the small depth of field that we receive by being too close to the subject) as however if you want your subject to stand out from the surrounding area the majority of the time, it is best to use a larger aperture, which limits the depth of field. This is especially true for portraits or when you need to separate the subject from the surrounding.

7. Sloping horizons

We spoke about this in our landscape vs Horizon line post. A sloping horizon when it is in the landscape or even behind an image or an uninvolved subject could be highly distracting; therefore, make sure that it’s level. Most cameras come with an electronic level that is shown in the viewfinder or on your primary display to help you. If not, you can use bubble levelling accessories that you can put inside the camera’s hot-shoe (commonly used to mount an external flash device).

Additionally, many tripods come with an adjustable level for those who are considering purchasing one.

It is especially crucial to ensure that your photos of water appear straight since a sloped horizon can ruin a shot.

8. Images blurred due to tiny apertures as well as slow shutter speed settings

We must pay close particular attention to this and also how deep of field that we are seeking to achieve. Sometimes, we get so concerned about getting everything to focus that we make the aperture smaller, which results in a plodding shutter speed in the end.

Be aware that the aperture and the shutter speed are tightly linked to one another, and they are both required to ensure an ideal exposure. The more you reduce your aperture (smaller opening, bigger aperture, larger f-number (f/11 and above) makes things difficult for the handheld photographer), the slower shutter speed is needed to maintain the balance of the exposure. If your shutter speed is not fast enough, you may expand your aperture, or increase your ISO or both until you get the proper exposure.

9. There is no focal point

The principal subject in an image should be correctly placed and should be the main focus of the photo (emphasized). The viewer must be drawn’s focus exactly where we would like it to be. Size size, colour, shape, and the way in which the object is contrasted with other elements in the picture can be used to highlight and draw attention to the object.

10. Uncertain of where your camera’s controls and what functions are

You MUST read your camera manual. Understanding your camera and all the buttons, settings, and functions is crucial. The ability to master this requires some time and. In our top tips for beginners, you must be able to alter the ISO setting, camera mode and focus point, as well as aperture and exposure compensation shutter speed without taking your camera out of your sight. Trust us when we say that it’s going to make a significant difference in the picture you don’t want to skip!