How Placing the Subject Off Center Helps You Improve Composition

photography subject off center
by Eliza Donovan

Composition is the key thing in visual arts. A beautifully composed image looks good even if there are minor technical mistakes, but eve the most technically perfect photo or painting looks bad if it lacks composition. While there are tons of composition techniques you can learn, there’s one really simple thing that improves your images a lot – place the subject off center.

While you can create good compositions with the subject placed in the center of the image, it’s safer for beginners to use the rule of thirds or at least try to put the subject anywhere off center. You don’t necessarily have to concentrate on finding the right third to place your subject, but rather look at the subject through a frame and check the following:

  • do you have enough space around your subject, so that the image doesn’t appear cluttered?
  • how would the viewer’s eye move through the photo and is there anything to guide the viewer’s eye to the subject?
  • does the photo tell a story?

Asking yourself these questions will help you decide how and where to place your subject in the photo and add meaning to your photo.

In the end, it’s all about what works for a particular shot and what doesn’t. Always take advantage of your camera being digital and take several versions of the same photo. This way you’ll be able to select the very best shot when you’re ready for post-production and delete the rest, so that they don’t clutter your computer. Premium DropShots members get a program that finds and deletes duplicate and similar photos called Duplicate Photo Cleaner for free. This program is a great time saver, so be sure you check it out and download the trial version here.

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