A good composition can make all the difference in a portrait. In this video, I’ll be walking through how to bring together multiple compositional techniques to capture strong and unique portraits.

Video: Combining Compositional Techniques For Stronger Portraits

In a previous video, we went over portrait ideas and concepts you can do in any park. Today, we’ll be taking these compositional techniques and “stacking” them to get strong and dynamic portraits using a Sony A74 with a Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 lens.

Before we dive in, be sure to give Sabrina, our model, a follow on Instagram.

Related Reading: 5 Simple Portrait Ideas For Any Outdoor Park

Step #1: Backlight

Backlighting Before > After

Backlighting is a great compositional technique to draw your subject out. I placed Sabrina underneath the blotted sunlight coming through the trees, creating a nice edge light.

Step #2: Find Leading Lines

Use leading lines to guide the focus to the subject.

You can use leading lines to help guide the focus to your subject. Here, I used the train tracks to do exactly that. You can also use a low angle to exaggerate the effect.

Step #3: Brightest Spot in the Frame

Our eyes are naturally drawn to the brightest part of the frame. Notice how Sabrina stands out from the background when placed in the light.

Step #4: Compress the Background

Left @ 70mm, Right @ 180mm

Use your telephoto lens to zoom in and bring the background closer while exaggerating the depth. This compositional technique can also be useful to minimize a busy and distracting background.

Step #5: Posing

compositional techniques final images
Edited with Visual Flow > Mood Pack

Add the final touches by posing your model to create interesting shapes and movements.

Before & After Comparison

compositional techniques final before after

Let’s compare where we started with the final result!


I hope you enjoyed this article/video! Be sure to visit the SLR Lounge Premium Library for full courses on photography related topics such as starting a photography business or Lightroom editing. You can also visit Visual Flow for the full library of intuitive Lightroom presets and retouching tools to give your photographs that perfect look.

Don’t miss our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!