Photo Composition: Simplicity

Photos are a very important part of journalism. They illustrate the story, providing a visual that engages readers. Photos can capture the true essence of the subject.

Or they can go horribly wrong.

It is important to take good photos that help tell the story. If photos are taken badly, it can result in a confusing or complicated image.

One of the most important things to remember when taking a photo is simplicity. Draw the attention to the most important part of the photo and let it stand alone. Focus on the subject of the photo and make it the center.

Simplify a photo by taking out distracting elements. If there are multiple objects in the photo, determine which one is the subject and photograph that subject by itself. If necessary, change the angle at which the photo is taken.

Make sure the reason for taking the photo is clear. Readers who are looking at the photo need to know what they are looking at and why. Crop out unnecessary parts of the photo. For example, the photo is of a building, crop out the parking lot because it distracts from the center, which is the building.

Properly framing a photo is important to highlighting the subject. If the frame is too wide, it can take away from the visual. Cropping or zooming in on a photo solves framing problems.

Distracting backgrounds can confuse readers as to what the focus should be. Some backgrounds can even make the subject blend in, rather than stand out. Using a plain background takes away the distraction and establishes the focus.

If the subject of the photo is off-center, it can sometimes create a more stimulating image. Different camera angles also aids in this. These practices creates a different dimension in the photo.

Remember, keep photos simple and draw attention to the subject.

The video below explains simplicity with photo examples.

For more examples and information, visit the Photo Composition website and the Journalists’ Toolkit.


About heatherrochon

I am a recent grad of creative writing and journalism. Right now, I'm working on book reviews and getting through life. Books, cats, and a nice cup of tea can get me through any day.
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