7 Compositional Techniques that will Transform your Photography Today!

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When I first started out in photography, I had no knowledge of any compositional techniques. I was completely focused on learning my camera, shooting in manual mode and grabbing focus ( which are all good and necessary things of course) So it wasn’t a surprise that my images lacked interest and creativity. I was pretty disappointed with my images as they looked more like snapshots than powerful storytelling photographs. My dissatisfaction grew until I realized I needed to understand some basic compositional rules . When I started utilizing these 7 techniques, it transformed my photography. There are more techniques than this, but this is a basic starting point. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Rule of Thirds

  2. Leading Lines

  3. Framing

  4. Symmetry

  5. Leading Room

  6. Depth

  7. Size of Subject

    Utilizing one or more of these techniques will make your imagery stronger because they are ways of guiding the viewers eye towards the most important elements of your work- sometimes in a very specific order. Composition can transform even the dullest of objects or surroundings.

Let’s take a look at each technique in more detail.

  1. Rule of Thirds

    A guide line that proposes that an image sill has more energy and interest by dividing it into 9 equal parts by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines, and placing your subject along those lines… for example: The image of the plant below. Notice how the leaves( the subject of the picture) are on the right side? If you divided this image into the previously discussed grid, you would see that the subject is placed along these lines. The same idea applies to the image of my daughter potty training above.

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2. Leading Lines

This refers to a technique where the viewers attention is drawn to the lines that are leading to your subject….. for example, as you can see below, my son and daughter are looking out at something on the other side of the fence. Notice how the shadow of the fence is acting as a leading line, leading your eye right to them.

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3.Framing

This is a way to use elements within your image to fame the subject you are creating a frame within a frame . Some examples are doorways, windows curtains branches fences etc… The image above, my boys are being framed by the ceiling and one of my boys is also being framed by the window that he is looking out of. Below, my daughters sitting under one of my accent tables and the legs and top are framing them.

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4.Symmetry

This is referring to an imaginary line splits and image in half and both sides are mirror images of each other. In this case you can put a subject in the center of the frame. The image below of my daughter looking straight into the camera is the only one I could find as an example of symmetry. Technically it’s not symmetrical straight out of camera, but I darkened the background in post processing and she is now centered and the image appears the same on both sides.

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5.Leading Room

The space in front and in the direction of moving or stationary subjects….. Below my daughter is attempting to blow a dandelion and it’s important that there is space in front of her so that your eye can envision the direction the dandelion seeds will go. As you can see she had a hard time getting the seeds to disperse, but you can still imagine this happening because of the leading room.

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6.Depth

Basically giving a 2 dimensional image the feel of 3 dimensions. This is more engaging to the viewer and helps them to explore the scene rather than just observe. The image below of my daughter asleep on the dining room chair has a feeling of 3 dimentionality because of the layering. Notice how the refrigerator is closer to the camera and serving as a type of leading line towards the chair? The chair is the next closest object to the camera and then next up is my daughter. Notice how this all leads your eye from front to back giving the image more depth?

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7.Size

Using the relationship between two objects to clue viewers in on how big, or small your subject is. Below you can see how small my daughter is in relation to the shed and the trees surrounding her.

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So there you have it! 7 compositional techniques that will improve your photography. There’s no need to try and use all of these techniques at once ( Though you will find that some will naturally overlap) Focus on one technique at a time until you’ve mastered it. Once you feel you’ve gotten the hang of each technique, try adding multiple techniques together in one image. Which technique do you like the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Now stick around and head over to Child Photographer Tampa, Dana DiSalvo’s Blog and check out her most recent portrait session. So beautiful and inspiring, don’t miss it!

Interested in my FREE PDF on Lowlight Photography? Go ahead and grab yours below!

Minimalist Photography : 4 Tips for Creating Beautiful Minimalistic Photography

Minimalist Photography : 4 Tips for Creating Beautiful Minimalistic Photography

What is Minimalism? Merriam-Webster defines it as a style or technique ( as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. When digging into the history we find that minimalism is, " An art movement that began in post-World War II Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and '70s." ( Wikipedia) 

Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Leslie Schoen

Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Leslie Schoen

I recently completed a photography course by a friend of mine ( Jyotsna Bhamidipati) called, “Capturing Mood: A Four Step Process to Evoking Character in Your Photographs.” It was wonderful and I highly recommend taking it, you can check it out here! In this course Jyo asks us to ponder the question, “ Are we artists, or photographers?”

Portraits for Great Grandma (3 simple steps for a quick portrait)

Portraits for Great Grandma  (3 simple steps for a quick portrait)

“Dear Tanya,

You are doing so great with photography so I have a request. I need a pic of the twins together and identified and a pic of each of the other Grands. Could I send money to have this done? All done in portraits?

Lots of love Grandma”

Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Tanya Montpetit

Twice a month I participate in a wonderful little blog circle. It’s been such a fun way to learn about others’ work and help to support and promote each other. Today I get to share with you an amazing post by Renee McDaniel. Renee will be talking about taking risks in photography, you do not want to miss this, it’s so inspirational and motivating! So at the end of my little post here, you can click on over to her page and be ready to get inspired to take those photographic risks!!


I just love getting to know other creatives in this industry and I am so excited to share with you this month’s Photographer Who Inspires, Tanya Montpetit! Her work is so beautifully emotive, and I just can’t help but stop and stare at all of it! So grab a cup of coffee or what have you and sit down for a little inspiration!

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What got you started in photography? 

I’ve always been passionate about the art of photography. Younger, I was taking pictures of everything around me with my first Minolta camera that my father gave to me. I’ve studied in Graphic design and have been a graphic designer for the past 20 years. For many years, I’ve put my camera aside an a couple years ago, I took the plunge and bought my first full frame camera. My kids were one of the main reason I’ve started to practice my passion again. Since then, I’ve been taking pictures almost everyday!




What three words describe your photographic style?

Emotion, connection, authenticity




What’s your favourite compositional technique?

I just love working with lines, patterns, shapes and contrast and I frequently use the Rule of thirds. But most of the time, I just go with my intuition and how I feel. It always makes the best pictures!

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Canon or Nikon?

I am a Nikon girl!





Favorite Lens?

Most of the time, I use my Sigma 35mm f1.4. It is so versatile and I can achieve almost everything I want with it. I also have a Sigma 24-70 f2.8, a Nikon 85mm and 50mm 1.8 for portraits and street photography and a Lensbaby 85mm Velvet that I’ve just purchased and it also amazing.

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LR or Photoshop?

As a graphic designer, I’ve been working with Adobe Photoshop for many years but when it comes to photography, Adobe LIghtroom is my primary tool. I only use photoshop if I want to add more depth and special effects like overlays to my work.






Presets or Custom?

Both. I make my own presets for many of my pictures but I just love the SMAL Presets from Sven Malojlo and the Terrain and LXC Presets from Tribe Archipelago when I want to acheive a consistent and moody look in my work.

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Tell me a bit about your biz! Are you only personal work, or a mix of personal and client? 

I currently only do personal work but I would love in to start offering my services of Birth photography and Fresh48 sessions in 2019. It would be such a privilege capturing the moment when a couple becomes a family.







How would you describe your ultimate dream shoot or personal project? 

I think that capturing a birth would definitely be a dream shoot for me. Writting inspiring articles and having my pictures published in magazines are definitively personal projects I would love participating in as well regularly. I just love to be inspired by many talented artists and If I can inspire others the same way, it would be such an honour! Oh yes… and shooting portraits of a celebrity one day would be extremly amazing too!

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What’s one of the most interesting experiences you’ve ever had in a session or personal project? 

I would say that every sessions or personal projects are very interesting. They bring you something different each and every time and I always cherish every moments and experiences they bring me.







What’s your favorite image you’ve ever taken (please share, and tell me the story behind the image)?

My favorite image I’ve ever taken is this one of my daughter with a handmade blanket I’ve made. (Mysterious_Girl.jpg) One afternoon after many years of letting my photography skills aside, I’ve asked her to put my blanket on her head and I just found beautiful light near a window in my house. I told her to look in the window and I found it was perfect! When I’ve transfered it into Adobe Lightroom, I was so impressed on how she looked with this beautiful natural light. It was definitely the moment where I decided to pursue the art of portraiture and I just love it!

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What sort of projects are you involved in now? 

Well, 2018 was such a great year for me! I started my Instagram account in August, and I just loved how easy it was to meet so many talented photographers, and amazing communities who pushes you to explore and push yourself as an artist. As a member of the Clickinmoms community, I’ve decided to apply for Click Pro by presenting my portfolio of 150 pictures in November and I was so excited to be accepted! It is definitely a goal I am very proud of. I also just had this amazing opportunity to write my fist article for the Click Magazine on Black and White photography that will be published in one of their next issues and I also got one of my picture selected for publication in the upcoming issue of DearPhotographer magazine. It has been such an amazing and creative year for me and I can’t wait for what 2019 will bring!




What advice would you give to someone wanting to get started in photography? 

I think the best advice would be to start taking pictures everywhere and everyday! The more you capture your daily life, the more you will find what kind of style you prefer and what makes your heart sing. Sharing your pictures with the world on Instagram, Facebook or Flikr even if you are not confident of your work. You will discover the things you have to work on and your strenghts. Getting a membership into a community that inspires you. Take somes classes and experiment with it everyday. It will definitely help boost your skills and confidence.




If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

I’ve always been a graphic designer and photographer but when I was young, I wanted to become a flourist, a cartoonist for Disney or a fashion designer. I guess my love of colours, beauty and creativity has always been a big part of who I am.

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Thank you so much for sharing a little more about yourself with us Tanya! Your work is breathtaking and I know you will go on to many great things in this industry!!

Now without further ado, go and check out Renee McDaniel / Family Photographer in Manhattan Kansas and be ready to start taking more photographic risks today!

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The Secret to Low Light Photography

9 of My Best Tips!!

Subscribe Below for this Free PDF on Low Light!

Three Ingredients for Emotive Black and White Photography

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Y’all, I am so excited to share with you my recent blog post with Click Magazine I have become absolutely enamored with Black and White imagery and it was such an amazing feeling to contribute some of what I have learned and some of what I love about this emotive style. Please visit my post HERE and I would so love it if you could leave me a comment! Let’s Chat!!

I adore Clickin Mom’s and it’s sister companies so very much. They all have been instrumental in my growth as a photographer over these past 3 years.

I highly recommend getting involved with them. It’s such a strong and supportive community, full of women with the heart for uplifting and educating. If you are already a member I implore you to apply for Click Pro. It’s seriously a game changer you guys! I made Pro back in June and it is such a boost of confidence and it has given me the motivation to keep going and never look back.

Here is a list of just some of the many benefits:

1.Private FB Group

2. FREE year’s subscription to Click Magazine

3. Pro Directory Listing

4. Group Projects

5. Writing for the Blog

6. Financial and Exposure Opportunities

Just to name a few!! If you are interested in doing this I would love it if you could sign up through my affiliate link HERE

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you head on over to my POST and check it out! I would love to hear what you think. What’s your best tip for emotive Black and White Photography? Comment Below!

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January's Favorites

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I am so excited to be participating in this month’s blog circle again. It is so much fun to go around the loop and be inspired by such talented artists! This month I am linking to Lindsay Lee, Lindsay is sharing with you her personal 365 project. It’s phenomenal! Have you done a 365 yet? I have NOT, and I know I NEED to. I have heard it is a tremendous way to build photography skills. Go check her out here, Sarasota Family Photographer

I have always prided myself on not following the crowd, but for the sake of art, ( and to build my skills as a Photog in the case of a 365) I have given in! I really love the idea behind creating a grid of a month’s favorite images. I have done it a few times on Instagram and thought it would be fun to make a blog post about it too! I feel a 365 coming on soon too!

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I am indoors A LOT! I home educate my 9 children ( well one is graduated, out of the house and married now) and so I have had a lot of practice in low-light situations and have fallen in love with this type of light. I think this post is a testament to that.

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When I initially started shooting in low light, I just wasn’t getting what I wanted out of my images. Until I discovered creative exposure. When creatively exposing, you simply have your subject close to a single light source and keep your ISO as low as possible ( I am usually at 100-200 ) And I meter of the subjects area that is bathed in the most light ( exposing for the highlights) This will get that area of the subject correctly exposed and the rest will fall away into darkness ( a great way to hide a cluttered house!)

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Of course low-light does not HAVE to be indoors. I captured a few macro images outside that I really liked this month too!

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Thank you so much for scrolling through! What about you, do you shy away from low-light or do you adore it as much as I do?

Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Robin Claire Fox

Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Robin Claire Fox

What got you started in photography? 

My children! I became interested in photography when we welcomed our first child. I wanted to preserve every moment and every detail as our little one grew. I began collecting images with a point and shoot camera, however I soon realized that I wanted more control over the creative aspects of my photographs. I purchased my first DSLR camera two years ago, took a course to learn how to use it and have been taking one photograph every day ever since.