Composition - Don't Just Point and Click - Photo Tips

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When you take photos, do you give a few moments of thought to asking the question "is there anything I can do to make this a better shot?" Or are you just a point and click kind of person?

A few moments before you click can go a long ways to improve a shot. Ask yourself questions about lighting. Where is the sun? Are my shadows harsh. If I move around will it improve? Should I be closer or farther away? What are the elements in the foreground and background - will they add interest? Too many things in one frame can be distracting. What do you really want to focus on?

I was recently in a local park on beautiful spring day and took the two photos you see below. The first was just a quick impulse snap. The second was after having given thought to composition. See which one you like better? :)

Learning about the rule of thirds can also aid in improving the composition of your shots so they have more interest. You can google it for more info. Here's one rule-of-thirds article though to get you started on that research.

Chase Jarvis is a well known photographer. He has coined the phrase (including an iPhone app) saying "the best camera is the one you have with you." I really like that saying. The photos above weren't with my Canon, they were simply my android phone. The quality (clarity) is not fantastic. But if you enjoy photography, you'll constantly be looking at the world around you in the thought of how can I take this shot in the most interesting way? If you have your phone in your pocket, why not take the shot. It is good practice and your photo journal will grow. Your actual experiences will make you a better photographer.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Donna Foerster 05/13/2012 07:50 AM
ActiveRain Community
Photography - New York 5 Boroughs Group
Tips and Techniques for Better Real Estate Photography

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Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Craig, great info. I still remember the rule of thirds from photography class.

Aug 09, 2014 12:09 AM #45
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great shots/the 2nd is amazing and really adds something...I have to learn more about cropping/etc!

Aug 09, 2014 12:17 AM #46
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

The photo is our first opportunity to capture the reader's eye.  Great tips on how to do it like a pro.

Aug 09, 2014 02:54 AM #47
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Craig - I'm a point and shot guy personally! I get it while I can, then I zoom, and crop like crazy.  :)

I think this works especially since the size of most photos need to be reduced anyway.

Aug 09, 2014 03:33 AM #48
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Center Moriches, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

The rule of thirds... I need to work on this Craig... thanks for sharing...

Aug 09, 2014 03:53 AM #49
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I am very fortunate that my brother who is an award winning amature photographer has shared lots of tips with me over the years.  I often get compliments on my photos, and if I don't LOVE them I take them over and over until I do.

Aug 09, 2014 07:55 AM #50
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Thanks Craig Daniels for my ah-ha moment.

Aug 09, 2014 11:04 AM #51
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Craig, being a point and shoot guy, any tips are welcomed! Enjoy your day!

Aug 09, 2014 09:57 PM #52
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Craig,

I'm over to your post after reading Kathy's post this morning. I can see why she hi-lighted yours..very valuable information and I love the statement "the best camera is the one you have with you!"

Aug 09, 2014 10:57 PM #53
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Good morning Craig,

What a difference photo #2 is.  I agree, you really have to give some thought to taking photos.  (learned it from you)!  Do you have any new classes coming up?

Aug 09, 2014 11:07 PM #54
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

As always great info Craig!! These photos tells the entire story

Aug 10, 2014 01:16 AM #55
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Cropping a photo sometimes brings about dramatic results Craig. This is a perfect example! I saw Kathy's weekly favorites and came by to read your post.

Aug 10, 2014 03:32 AM #57
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I don't know if it's instinct or a result of a college photography class, but I do this without even being fully aware of it.  Sometimes it's while shooting and sometimes it's during editing.

Aug 10, 2014 04:04 AM #58
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I try to be thoughtful about my photos, and often take several slight variations of a scene, structure, etc. But sometimes I just point and click without paying much attention. Got to work on that. It sure doesn't take much to ponder what you are doing a little bit


Aug 10, 2014 04:30 AM #59
Lisa Perry - NMLS # 276329
FHA, VA, Jumbo, Downpayment Assistance, Conv. - Fairfax, VA
Northern VA - VHDA, 100% Loans - Jumbo Loans

Great Information.  I will look into rule of thirds.  Also, I thought the 2nd photo looked great with the yellow flowers.

Aug 10, 2014 12:13 PM #60
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

Great tips. You need to know what you want to focus on and it does not need to be in the center of the picture to be effective.

Aug 11, 2014 03:05 AM #61
Rhonda Lindenbaum
Las Vegas, NV
Keller Williams Unique Real Estate Consultant

Thank you for these valuable tips to remember 

Aug 11, 2014 10:05 AM #62
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Hi Craig! These photos look familiar. Have you blogged about this before??? I never slow down long enough to think about composition!

Aug 14, 2014 08:58 AM #63
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
30 Years of Real Estate Experience!

Composition is so important. The difference in perspective between the two photos takes the scene from pleasant to outstanding. I do like the quote about the best camera being the one you have with you.

Aug 18, 2014 01:39 AM #64
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

What wonderful example shots! Agents will get a whole lot more activity on the second shot.

Oct 27, 2015 03:00 AM #65
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Craig Daniels

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