Last week I wrote a post about my favorite photos, and in that post I also discussed my commitment to becoming a better photographer. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time, but I never felt that I had the time or money to take a real class, and quite frankly, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the whole idea. I mean, aperture? ISO? Sounds like a foreign language.

But I took the leap and downloaded a free guide on photo composition (no longer available – sorry! But I will tell you later about a way you can still get that resource as part of a larger, more comprehensive resource).

The booklet had just a few composition lessons, which was perfect – start small and manageable, right? And I decided to focus on three of them this week: Focus, The Rule of Thirds, and Fill the Frame. I grabbed my iPhone (I’m not quite ready to tackle manual mode on my Panasonic) and began to practice. Here’s what I came home with:

1. Rule of Thirds

My son’s band performing at a local contest.

It’s blurrier than I wanted it to be. The lighting at the venue wasn’t great, and I couldn’t get very close to the stage to claim a steadier shot. Still, I think I managed the Rule of Thirds, placing  my son in focus on the imaginary vertical line that would divide this image into thirds. His head is almost exactly placed on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines, and had this photo been sharper, it might have achieved greatness. (Yeah, ok – I’m such a beginner – I’m not expecting greatness yet!)

2. Focus

Who wants Arnie Palmies?

I found this product at Wal-Mart and took the photo to send to my best friend, who loves this half and half drink. Plus, it’s an inside joke between us to quote the line from the movie The Other Guys “Who wants Arnie Palmies?” (Watch it – you’ll love it!).  For this photo, I thought it would be interesting to put the signature into sharp focus, and I think it worked. Of course, lighting was bright and I had no trouble getting as close as I wanted. Not a photo for scrapbooking, but successful, I think.

3. Fill the Frame

Phoebe the Japeke

Finally, I wanted to try the Filling the Frame technique. This is one of the main reasons I think my photos lack that certain something. Too often, I am standing far away from my subject, and I struggle to capture anything of significance when I’m just shooting into a room from the doorway. So I got up really close and personal with my Japeke (that’s half Japanese Chin, half Pekingese), and snapped a few shots. She cooperated surprisingly well, though I doubt I’ll ever catch her looking straight into the lens. By filling the frame with her adorable little face, I think I caught her unique Mogwai/Ewok-ness. Yep, totally a word that I just made up. Feel free to use it.

So that’s what I came up with for this week. There are plenty of other tips still to try just in the single-chapter excerpt of the book I downloaded. As I said before, that excerpt is no longer available for free, but you can get the entire book, The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer, plus 18 other ebooks and courses in the Ultimate Digital Photography Beginner Bundle.

I’ve already gotten mine, and I plan to work my way slowly through each resource. As my photography skills (hopefully) improve, I plan to share my progress here, maybe on a weekly basis. I’d love to have some company on this journey, so if you feel like your photography could use some improvement, consider getting a bundle for yourself, and let’s do this thing together! We can share ideas and chat in our own private Facebook group and work through the ebooks and courses sort of like a book club. I think that would be the most fun, don’t you? Check it out today, and let me know if it’s something you’d be interested in.

Till next time,

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