Elementary Photographic Composition

There are a few very simple techniques that will instantly propel your photographs into the top 10%, compositional wise.

As always, the tragedy is that most people are never taught these concepts. Rather than engage their brains they would much rather spend more and more money on exotic lenses and bodies in order to improve their photography.

The three rules (and unlike most of the information on composition, these really are rules) are:

  1. Subject
  2. Edges
  3. Background

You can easily remember this using the mnemonic “SEB”

You need to pause for a fraction of a second every time you press the shutter button and check that you’ve thought about and applied the concepts of subject, edges and background to the picture you’re about to take.

At first it’s not easy to check SEB and you need to be a little disciplined. It will, however, become second nature in a short amount of time.


The importance of even elementary photographic composition techniques should not be underrated.

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