Last issue, I mentioned that this month we’re going “Back to Basics” to make sure we’re taking SALEABLE stock photos at the beginning of the year… so we can make 2015 our best year, yet. This week, let’s talk about the number one most important aspect in any saleable photograph: Composition. You can have the best camera and the sharpest lenses on the market… but without good composition, your photos won’t have the “umph” they need to sell. Likewise, you can take amazing shots with really cheap gear if you compose with care. Simply speaking, composition is how we choose to portray the world within our frame. The choices we make will determine how the viewer experiences our photograph. Here are three basic compositional rules to help you throughout the year: 1. Be intentional. Know what your subject is and arrange the elements in your photograph carefully to direct the viewer’s eye. Rule of thirds, leading lines, shapes, pattern, and color are a few of the many ways to do this. Notice the strong lines leading to the subject, complementary colors, and interesting shapes and patterns in both of these shots. 2. Simplify. Cut the clutter and remove anything that distracts from your main subject. This might mean getting closer and filling your frame. Remember that sometimes less is more. Here is an example of how getting in close and removing the unnecessary distractions at the edges of the frame brings greater attention to the details within the flower. 3. Create Depth. It’s tricky business turning a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional photograph. Being strategic about what’s in your foreground, middle, and background, the angle from which you shoot, and your aperture setting can create layers and a sense of space for your viewer to explore. These shots both have an interesting depth which is created by the shooting angle, choice of aperture, and the placement of elements within the foreground, middle, and background. Give these three rules a try the next time you take your camera for a spin. By learning to build strong compositions, your photos will have a visual impact that people will connect with, leading to an increase in your stock acceptance rates and upping your sales. Premium Members – remember to take composition into account in this month’s “Best of the Best” Challenge! And don’t pass this one up… everyone who submits a photo to the Premium Challenge this month will get a personalized review. — Bonnie Bonnie Caton Creator, Breakfast Stock Club Your Weekly Breakfast Dish The Latest from Your Breakfast Stock Club Facebook Page From Theresa St John: Sometimes, you just can’t get out, but the camera still calls your name. Practicing indoor, natural light. Was a fun shoot. Work with what you have, right? What’s everyone else photographing these days? From Buff Etheridge: This week I’ve been photographing Colonial Williamsburg, mostly in cold, dreary winter weather. What fun though!! I’ve gotten some great shots of the historic area in the fog, and spent five hours outdoors walking there today, hunting for photos after the ice storm that hit last night. I think I struck gold. I sure had fun at any rate. I’m spending tonight editing. The moral to this tale is that bad weather that normally keeps us inside can also give us the chance to find amazing shots almost no one else is even out looking for.