9 Tips for Composing the Perfect Picture
From the Rule of Thirds to symmetry, Steve McCurry's photos show you how you step up your photography game.
Photos by Steven McCurry, screencaps via
Photojournalist Steve McCurry, who is most famous for his piercing portrait of the Afghan Girl, featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine, is a master at capturing a story in a single photograph. Using his body of work for reference, the Cooperative of Photography has created a simple how-to video to teach budding and expert photographers alike to compose an image as McCurry does. The video takes viewers on a journey from the Rule of Thirds and framing, through pattern-spotting and more.
Here are the nine composition tips they gathered from studying McCurry's works:
1. Rule of ThirdsPlace points of interest on the intersections and important elements along the lines.
2. Leading LinesUse natural lines to lead eyes into the picture.
3. DiagonalsDiagonal lines create great movement.
4. FramingUse natural frames like windows and doors.
5. Figure to GroundFind a contrast between subject and background.
6. Fill the FrameGet close to your subjects.
7. Center Dominant EyePlace the dominant eye in the center of the photo.
8. Patterns and RepetitionPatterns are aesthetically pleasing. But the best is when the pattern is interrupted.
9. SymmetrySymmetry is pleasing to the eye.
Visit the Cooperative of Photography website for more skill-sharpening tutorials.
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