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Photography is the art of telling a story without saying a word. Unless that photo is on Instagram and you have 2200 characters available to tell that story. However, in social media less is always more, especially in a generation that thrives on fast information at the touch of your fingertips. With that in mind it is important to consider that your audience may not always make it to reading your caption if they don’t care to stop scrolling when they see your photo. So how can you ensure your audience sees what you post? By looking further into a photo’s elements of composition, we can answer that question.
A photo’s exposure determines how light or dark an image will appear. While editing it is easier to make an image brighter than to make an image darker so try adjusting your settings to slightly underexpose your photo.
Use natural light whenever possible by moving outside, standing by a window or turning off artificial light. Pictures will appear brighter and more visually appealing, especially at first glance.
Tip: If you want your subject to appear brighter than its surroundings, place a white surface under the subject and out of frame. Light will reflect from the surface and make the subject appear brighter.
Before you take that photo make sure the subject is clear and in focus so your audience knows exactly where to look. In addition, using a minimalistic background or framing your subject using natural or artificial objects can help to draw the viewer’s eyes to the focal point.
Leading lines are the “arrows” that lead the viewer’s eyes to the subject. In a photo these lines can consist of any element (objects, surfaces, etc.) besides the subject that draw the viewer’s attention back to the subject.
A common rule in photography, the rule of thirds, consists of dividing a photo into nine equal sections with vertical and horizontal lines. These lines should act as a guide for placement of the subject. Follow the lines and make sure the subject of the photo falls into one of the intersection points.
Our eyes are naturally drawn to the unusual. When taking a photo, try incorporating textures, patterns and symmetry (both man-made and natural) that are out of the ordinary, and viewers will be more likely to stop a second longer to look at your photo.
Instagram thrives on photography, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a professional photographer to achieve high-quality, likable content. In fact, the camera on your smartphone will suffice, but regardless of the instrument you are using, great photography comes from following a set of composition guidelines. By adhering to these rules, you can ensure that your viewers will stop to take a second look at your content.