Recipe for the Perfect Picture

To get yummy family photos, you need the right ingredients.

Photographer Kristin Wilkerson reveals the recipe for perfect pictures.

Composition is what I call a recipe for a great picture. There are certain visual elements that when they are placed right you take yourself out of the snap shot category and into more of an artistic expression.
Here are a few of my favorite ingredients to create a visually interesting photograph:


Lines are a big deal. They will either lead the human eye to the subject or they will distract from it. You want to make sure that your lines are always leading to the subject. When you are placing your subject on stairs or against a wall pay attention to the where the lines are leading. If they are leading to your subject you can be confident that you are going to create a visually interesting photograph. If they lead away or distract you might find that your photo falls flat.


People have different opinions on what spacing is as it pertains to composition but what I’m referring to is what you may have heard called “the rule of thirds” You want to make sure that you are framing your picture in a way that is please to the eye. The said rule is that if you were to divide the picture into three sections both horizontally and vertically your subject should be placed in the cross sections. You can achieve this by cropping your picture but I think it always works better if you are conscious of it while you are shooting. I rarely crop my photos. In addition to placing your subject in those cross sections you also want to balance the photo. There is a rule of odds that teaches us if we have an even number of subjects it is less pleasing to the eye. In this situation you would want to balance your scene to create a more symmetrical look therefore enhancing the subject.


Texture is another one of my favorite elements. You can add so much dimension just by paying attention to the textures. I commonly like to add texture with grass, or as you can see in the superhero picture the rubble and rocks from the mountain and clouds in the background. Look for things around you that will add interest. We stumbled across some berries that matched her shirt and I knew the texture and color would help the photo pop. Texture can be found all around you if you use it to your advantage you can help create a photograph that really stands out.


I think viewpoint is huge. When you shoot straight on you can often times get a descent photography that people like. But we want our pictures to be something that inspire or bring emotion. When you use different viewpoints you can add that. Is your viewpoint looking down on the subject, straight on, through a tree? Think about what you want to say in your photograph and then use your viewpoint to help express that.

Kristen Wilkerson is a professional photographer in Logan, Utah. You can find more of her work at

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