Use The 10-Second Rule To Improve Your Photo Composition

If you want to take better photos, one of the first things to work on is your composition. Photographer Simon Ellingworth shares this trick to get you thinking about how you can better compose your photos: set your camera or phone's self-timer to 10 seconds, then line up your shot.

Picture: Louise Ireland/Flickr

The goal is to get you thinking about composition, but only so much that you have a deadline and still have to actually take a photograph. The self-imposed 10-second countdown forces you to set up your photo quickly, but you'll probably still have a second or two to make changes before the timer goes off. Use those last few seconds to adjust your phone or camera to get a better shot. Ellingworth describes the process like this:

You'll now have a few extra seconds before the shutter clicks to have a second look at your existing composition & more importantly chance to adjust it.

Move your device around little, can you move your horizon or subject to exploit the rule of thirds. Can you get closer or lower?

He notes that it's a great way for any photographer to think about the shots they're taking, especially with static subjects. Over time, you'll start to re-train your eye and shoot with composition in mind. Best of all, this trick works with any type of camera — your expensive DSLR, affordable point-and-shoot or the camera on your smartphone. Hit the link below for Ellingworth's full lesson on the principles of photo composition.

Composition...The 10 Second Rule [Lightism]


    Or, take as long as you want to compose the shot. Unless you're shooting action or a sunset, there's no rush, and as you practise you'll get faster naturally anyway. What strange advice.

    It's not as strange as it first appears. For people who look at a scene, raise the camera to their face and press the button it forces them to think a little more about what they're shooting. For those plagued by analysis paralysis it forces them to stop analysing and commit. Both are powerful ways to learn.

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