When you pick up a camera each image you capture is a story. The key in knowing how to capture those stories begins with lighting & composition. Composition is one of the first steps to better photography. It is understanding how to properly arrange the subject(s) in the frame, so the viewers can clearly understand what it is your trying to convey. It is one of the most essential parts of photography.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
Composition a Process
When you look through a view finder on a camera your presented with your scene. Yet when you get to the editing process the image looks completely different, in most cases it doesn’t live up to what you saw in your head why is that? Well one of the first steps to creating your shots is to have a plan. If your shooting in a broken worn out building, realize that to capture the full scene you need to either step back or use a wide lens.
Composition comes before the actual photo is framed in your viewfinder. Composition starts in your head and is then transferred to the view finder, then your editing room and eventually to your audience. When taking portraits, placing the subject center frame might not be your best option, as this looks flat and more traditional (depending on who you ask).
Placing your subject slightly off center creates more style and makes the image more picturesque. Of course if you want him/her to own the scene and be separated from all others center frame can work.
The principle of composition exists in various art forms: from sculpting, to song writing and even public speaking, It is vital, it creates the art before it’s physically manifested. As far as photography, where you stand, how you hold the camera, what angle you choose and the type of lens you use, are all factors of creating or composing your shots.
Below are a few examples of (visual) composers I follow on 500px. Study their work and see what you can discover about composition: