5 Dynamic Composition Methods Used By a Nat Geo Pro (VIDEO)

Top-Notch composition skills can make the difference between good photographs and great ones, especially when shooting landscapes and other outdoor scenes. Today you're going to learn five "essential" framing techniques that pro Sean Gallagher says contribute to the impact of his stunning imagery

Gallagher is an environmentally conscious documentary photographer who has travelled the globe producing compelling work for National Geographic, The Guardian, the Pulitzer Center, and other top-tier outlets. He's also been a Fellow at the prestigious UK Royal Geographic Society for the past 20 years.

Whether you're just getting started or a more experienced shooter Gallagher's proven techniques will level up your composition skills in barely 12 minutes. And all this really requires is viewing the word a bit differently and taking a more thoughtful approach. In essence, this lesson is all about creating order out of the chaos we often confront when pursuing our craft in the field.

Gallagher's first suggestion is one with which you're likely familiar; namely, the popular Rule of Thirds. There's no need for us to summarize it here because we've covered it the past, other than to note that it's one of the most basic fundamentals of photography. If you think this common "rule" is too basic for publications like National Geographic, think again, because Gallagher says this: "The Rule of Thirds often underpins so many of those great photographs you see."

A less familiar approach is to use patterns and shapes when framing up a shot. Here Gallagher notes that "the human eye and brain are especially attuned to recognizing patterns and shapes." His point is that as photographers we can tap into our natural appreciation of these important elements to make images with more impact and interest.

The use of symmetry is another powerful technique for drawing a viewers eye into an image, as is what Gallagher refers to as "The Power of Three." He also demonstrates his thought process behind "Filling the Frame" and why there are times when your images aren't good enough because you're simply not close enough.

Gallagher's tips are illustrated with beautiful images that will provide you with a heavy dose of inspiration and encouragement to expand your photographic vision. So take a close look and put these straightforward techniques to work. Your image library will thank you for sure.

We also recommend watching another tutorial from Gallagher that we featured in the past, in which he demonstrates how to capture Golden-Hour landscape photographs with a unique and breathtaking look.