Composing Your Shot

Generally, I like to KIS, or Keep It Simple. There are many things to say concerning composing your shot, but for now, I just want to KIS. It’s always better to read a book from the beginning, than to start in the middle or end.

Where to Begin?

Where to begin is a question that usually comes to mind when taking your pictures. Questions like, is this going to be a shot of a person or group of people?. Is this a landscape or scenery shot? Another way to view this is to ask questions from an old game; Person Place or Thing.

Start With the Basics

The first thing to think about is, at least in the beginning, is this pleasing to my eye, will I enjoy seeing the picture in a photo album or other setting? As I’ve said before, in today’s digital age, the cost of film and processing has been pretty much been taken out of the equation. There is still the cost of photo paper, but that is negligible given that you only need print as you wish. So the basics are, simply put, take your picture and either review it in real time on your camera (or phone), or upload it to your computer or other device for later review. Show your picture to friends or family, was it pleasing to them? Did they offer any comments, too light, too dark, out of focus? You can easily learn from these experiences, make adjustments and move on.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Peles Castle, Romania

Peles Castle, Romania

Pictures can paint a variety of emotions. Happiness, sadness, awe, these are just a few of the emotions than can be felt when a person see’s a photo. While on a trip to Romania, I took hundreds of photos on my old point and shoot camera. It takes excellent pictures, its small, lightweight and very portable.

When I returned home, I had occasion to show my pictures to family and friends at a social gathering. Everyone was amazed and thoroughly engaged while looking at the slide show I made. One of the couples there had been to Romania about 10 years prior, and were able to reminisce about their trip and comment on how much had changed over the years. Everyone was very engaged and time passed quickly.

As a photographer, I was very pleased with the reactions I got that day. This is what we are striving for. And you know what? I stuck to the basics and really didn’t care too much about depth of field, lighting and so on. I just took the shot, reviewed it later and put it all together in a (hopefully) pleasing manner.


Be Happy

Don’t be afraid, just do it. Be happy with the pictures you’ve taken. Sure, there are going to be a few shots, or maybe more than just a few, that are out of focus, blurred, too light or dark, but in the end, be happy with the good pictures. Toss the bad, and keep the good. Learn from your experience and move forward.

I have a ton of old family photos going back into the 1930s. Many of the folks I remember, some I do not. When I look at those photos, its like a journey back in time. I can see these long departed family members, live again an experience, go to places I haven’t been in years or decades, or ever for that matter. And you know what? It always brings a smile to my face. Sure, there are the bad photos, blurred or out of focus, but who cares, they are mine and I cherish them.

I love Looking at pictures, old or new. I may not know the people or places in the pictures, but it doesn’t matter to me. I appreciate that someone has taken the time to capture some moment, or place, or thing and share it.


Composing your shot can be as simple as looking at something. I rarely think of things other than this, is this worth remembering or talking abut at some later time? The whole point is this, just have fun, express yourself, and share with whomever for whatever reason. Unless I’m taking a special picture or portraits, or photos of a special event, I rarely give much time to composing, I would rather just have fun with what I am doing.




  1. I used to love taking photographs, even though I absolutely lacked anything resembling skill. It was fun. That was all. I enjoyed those pictures for years. One day madness struck and I destroyed them all. Now I take new pictures with my phone. They’re not very good, either, but the subjects are one very photogenic cat and two kids. They’re usually fun. 🙂

  2. Hi, thanks for this article, I really felt encouraged by it. I love when you say to just have fun. I feel that some times I put to much pressure on what I do, so I will apply this principle in photo taking and in everything I do.
    When you say to start basic, do you mean without too many shadows or just not too busy of a picture?
    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Andy,
      Shadows or no shadows, busy or not, doesn’t really matter. What matters is:
      1.Just have fun.
      2.You can review your shot in real time and adjust the shot if you feel its needed.
      3.See number one.
      Your skill will improve over time.

  3. Dear Greg
    Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to take towards their proper understanding of camera usage and their value for everyone. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
    Kind regards,

    • Andrey,
      Thank you for visiting. I really appreciate your comments as well those of others. In the future I’ll be posting more about this wonderful journey.

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