Dispatch #1: 3 Photo Basics Worth Re-Learning

Today, as your official Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop Spy here in San Francisco, I got to eavesdrop on some solid photo basics that are really worth re-learning.  Especially for travel writers who, like me, want to sell photos with their stories.

Here are three photo composition basics that Shelly told us will help turn our photos into persuasive selling points for our stories, whether we’re targeting magazines, newspapers, e-magazines, or other travel publications:

1. Rule of Thirds:

This is the big one.  As Shelly explained it, using the Rule of Thirds is the number one way to add interest to the composition of your photo.  To do it, you just divide your photo into thirds horizontally and vertically, with four imaginary dividing lines.  Then, you line up the subject of your photo, or the horizon, or whatever element is the focal point of your photo, on any one of those lines.

Here’s an example:

Photo Basics - Rule of Thirds

Notice that in the first frame, the subject is right in the middle of the photo.  After cropping it and dividing it up into thirds, the subject is right on the intersection of two “thirds lines,” increasing this photo’s interest.

2. Framing.

Another quick-and-easy way to add interest to your photo is to frame your subject with objects in the foreground.

For example, in this photo of the George Washington Masonic Temple in Alexandria, Virginia, the building is framed by the branches and leaves in the foreground:

Photo Basics - Framing

3. Composition with lines.

Horizontal lines can add interest to your photos and add emphasis to your subject.  You can see it happening in this photo of Shelly’s, where the strong horizontal lines lead to the subject:

Photo Basics - Composition Lines


Bonnie Caton
Your Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop Spy

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]