Apart from camera skills, the other big reason for people attending my workshops is to understand more about composition. This is a big subject in itself and although I'm always happy to discuss my thought process when taking an image, I do encourage participants to come up with their own and, importantly, explain their reasons for those they find. This can be great fun as I ask them to use my A.B.C. of composition whilst looking. This isn't a rule (I don't like rules!), but rather a useful way to make sure their image works as an overall idea. Obviously, I go through this thoroughly on a workshop but let's just touch on the basics here...
A. is for Anticipation. Whilst we're learning about the technical side of photography it's easy to forget about the subject you're taking a picture of. So much so, that it's easy just to press the shutter without taking a last look at the scene (yes, we've all done it!) - for example, not noticing that a vehicle was passing through the scene, or that if you had waited a little longer, a lone cloud would have been better placed. Anticipation doesn't have to be immediate either. For instance, I may be out walking and notice a promising location for a landscape image but it might be the wrong time of day or even the wrong time of year for the best photograph. Anticipation is, therefore, a useful tool in our armoury for a good composition.
B. is for Balance - a key ingredient in a successful image and refers not only to the component parts that make up the image but also how light, texture and (when not a mono image) colour play their part, too.
C. is for Considered - making sure that you have scanned the entire image on the back of your camera, to make sure that everything in it is accounted for - particularly around the edges. Sometimes less is more and what to leave out of the image is as important as what is in it.
So there you go - a simple set of guidelines that have helped me with my photography for years, so why not give it a try? Better still, consider signing up to one of the many workshops that I hold around the country, where I go into composition a lot more. Full details can be found on my workshops page here and don't forget to sign up to my newsletter here to be given priority notifications as a lot of them book up prior to being advertised.