Improving Your Photography Through Composition

Dam, Princess Highway, southwest Victoria, Australia

Here's a photo from deep in my archives. While I've been working, full time, in the photography industry for over 30 years the above photo was one of the first images I made with my very first digital camera: a Canon 5D. The photo features a dam just off the Princess Highway in southwest Victoria. Made with the aid of the last light of the day the image is based, largely, around key compositional elements. Let's break them down, as follows:

Shape and Texture

You'll notice the oval shape of the dam and the shapes and textures of the rock and clouds.


The warmly lit grasses contrast nicely with the cool blue of the sky. And of course the reflections of the clouds and sky on the surface of the water add a sense of wonder and help connect, visually and metaphorically, the water and sky.

Such a simple scene, yet with some many elements by which we, as photographers, can connect to nature and to the viewer.

The Way Forward

I'm always saying to folks wanting to improve their photography that, once you've got your head around the basic technical elements of exposure, focusing and depth of field your next adventure should be into the world of composition. It's so important, both graphically and spiritually, to get beyond the basics of technique and begin to place your own unique stamp on your photos. And composition, to my way of thinking, is the bridge between the snapshot and art.

As above so below.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru