Do you feel like your photos often look kinda blah? Do you wish you knew more about composition so you could make them more interesting? Are you wondering how you could take photos that look like more than just snapshots?

Well, there's a really simple tweak that you can make to your photos - and you can even do it after the fact!

Put your subject off center!

If I hand my camera to a stranger in the street and ask them to take a photo of me, I'm guessing 9 times out of 10, or maybe even 99 times out of 100, they will put me dead center in the middle of the frame.

Putting your subject (in this case most likely your child) off center, however, allows for a much more interesting dynamic in your photo, and plays to where your eye is more naturally drawn. In photo-speak, you may hear this referred to as the "rule of thirds" where you imagine your frame divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, with two horizontal and two vertical lines. Placing your subject at the intersection point of two of these lines, or anywhere along these lines, would be using this "rule of thirds."

Of course, any rule can be broken successfully, especially if other strong compositional techniques are used, but if your centered photos feel like they're lacking something compositionally, try this! And as I said, you can even do this after the fact by cropping your photo in your editing software.

Don't worry too much about hitting the third point exactly - that too is just a rough guideline.

Do this now

Today's mini-assignment will get you experimenting with off-center photos that are more interesting than the typical snapshot:

  1. Look at your recent photos - do you tend to place your subject in the center of the photo?
  2. Try cropping a few of them so your subject is off center. Do you see the improvement?
  3. Now try taking a photo where you subject is off center in the frame. Try this with all your photos for a week and see the difference!
  4. Feel free to share your experience down below in the comments section or on the Photosanity facebook page.

If you're interested in joining hundreds of parents just like you in an easy and fun journey towards photosanity, sign up to get FREE updates and access to my FREE video lesson and pdf guide with my Top 5 tips on taking better photos of your kids.

nyc baby, child and family photographer, former architect & mom alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. her company, nestingNYC, specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. she also teaches an online photography workshop for parents. find out more about The Photosanity Workshop or send her an e-mail!