Wedding Photography Tips for Beginners – How to Compose Your Photos, Part 1 of 4

One of the biggest things in photography is knowing the best way to compose your images. Composing a lake with a mountain in the background can be difficult enough, but why is wedding photography more complicated is the fact that a married relationship couple has to be inserted in the frame at the same time. I have written four articles that will help you compose your images at weddings. In these articles I will speak about choosing horizontal or vertical format, different techniques of composition, and lastly, two devices which will make your images more complicated. In this first article I am likely to offer some tips that may help you elect to shoot a picture horizontally or vertically.

One with the first items to consider to compose your image is actually the photo is going to be horizontal or vertical. These formats may also be called landscape and portrait. Don’t get to hung up on these names though, I shoot lots of good landscape shots vertically, and wedding portraits horizontally. So how do I determine which to utilize? To decide if I am planning to shoot horizontal or vertical, I always ask myself the question “What am I gaining by shooting this subject horizontally or vertically?” To apply this question to your photography start by shooting one image horizontal, one vertical, when attempting to frame your subject. Then look at those two images and get yourself precisely what is this picture gaining by having the rest of the items that isn’t the subject in frame.

Using the example above of a married relationship couple using a mountain and lake, if shot horizontal and there is a tree on one hand in the couple, is that this tree a bonus, or possibly it distracting? If shooting vertical, if your sky is within the frame, can it be a beautiful or interesting sky, or is it all blown out? What are you gaining with the sun in frame? Ask yourself this question critically. Remember that sometimes – empty space inside frame is a bonus.

After some time comparing these two images every time you shoot, you can start doing it mentally before you even put the viewfinder up for an eye. I see the happy couple and what is around them and have myself this question “What am I gaining…” after which choose to shoot vertical or horizontal. Only after I have decided, do I then start to carefully frame my subject.

I hope it has helped you how you can decide if they should compose your image horizontally or vertically. In the next three articles I introduce different composition techniques as well as devices to help you compose your photos. Thanks for reading!