In world of never ending innovations in DSLR and  mobile camera, it is easy to consider oneself a photographer right from day one. Just press button and image is captured, Just click shutter and you can hear DSLR go like Bazukka. (Not in latest technologies) The sense of satisfaction of having freezed the moment is incredible. However, photography is more than just pressing the shutter button.

I have already written three blogs on  the basics of photography. Now we take it to next concept where photography takes the form of an art work. Every photo has a story to tell. Creating this visual story involves composing the given situation in most creative form.  Let us look at some of the rules to compose wonderful images.

Game of light, shadow and colour: Photography is all but playing with light, shadow and colour. Depending on direction of light, depths of shadows and breadth of color variations can help you create great images. Sometime just two colour, black and white are enough.

Too much light in background and evenly exposed subject and you get this beautiful High Key image. Experiment.


Rules of third: Imagine your frame is divided into grid of 9 equal sized blocks created by two equidistant vertical and horizontal lines. Ideally your subject should be placed on intersection points of these lines.

You will notice how the face on gaur lies right across intersection of one vertical and one horizontal line.


Leading lines: While creating an image try and take reference to gateway created by arches of trees or use long stretch of the jungle roads. This gives a sense of depth and direction to your image.

Notice how the road is used as prop to show movement of tiger and safari vehicle following it.

Reflection: Nothing can create more magic than catching the reflection of your subject in water.


Reflection of tiger can be clearly seen in water.

Eye-level: Eye level shots are difficult to make from gypsy during safari. Try and use terrain to your advantage and ensure your shooting height is at same level as that of the eye of your animal.

Our safari vehicle was placed at the lowest point along the road of this water body. Camera came at same level as the eye of the tiger.

Patterns: Vertica/, horizontal, diagonal are standard patterns to create a “Wow” feeling in the image. It can be created by trees, mountains, rivers anything and everything. Keep your eyes open for patterns.

Horizontal patterns. Green grass, blue water, dark green trees behind and blue skies. Shot very early on a winter morning.

Fill the frame: Sometimes filling up frame gives a grandeur feel to image. Use it effectively to showcase the details of the story.

Sadness – Closed eye of elephant and long eyelashes with thin eyebrows.

Frame within frame: While creating story frame see if you can create one more frame made from elements in your image and fit your subject into it. It changes the whole perspective of how the subject looks.

Frame created by the creepers hanging over the road while I created the frame of tiger walking on the road.


Follow the gaze: While composing an image try and ensure the direction in which your subject is gazing has space to give sense of what it’s looking at. This is especially useful when doing bird photography.

Deer is looking to the left. So subject is placed on right while keep open space in direction of gaze.

Depth of field: Blurring foreground and background can give a 3D feel to the image. Try and ensure you keep tab on your “f” number.

Green bee eater in shallow depth of field. You can see entire summer grass is looking orangish yellow and is blurred out. With focus on bird sitting on the trunk of fallen tree, image I believe has come up well.

Head turn: Try to click an image when animal turns and looks around. You will get most memorable pictures.

He turned towards us before disappearing into bushes.

Light my eyes: If you want to bring your picture alive, try and click picture where light shines in eyes of your subject.

This tiger was hiding in bushes. However I waited till moment he turned around and sunlight gleamed into his eyes. Making the animal come alive.


Last very important tip as an incentive for reading through all point. Once you understand and implement these rules, you need to break, mix and match them effectively to be creative. Remember Photography has many genres and you need to explore as many of them as possible to know if you really like a particular genre and would like to call yourself say a wedding photographer, wildlife photographer etc.

So next time you are about to press shutter thing twice about the composition and story you want to showcase without a saying/writing a word.

That’s called photography!

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