The overall composition of a photograph can make-or-break an image. There is a lot to think about before you click the shutter release, and one of these things is whether you want the image to be framed vertically or horizontally. When I make a photograph, especially if I know it’s a “keeper”, I usually will take three shots of the same image: vertical, horizontal, and an angled version (also known as “Dutch angle”).

On a recent trip to Canada I stopped at Butchart Gardens to do some flower photography. When I found a flower that I wanted to use I took several photos of it and changed my angle for each shot. In the tulip image above I found that a straight-up-and-down vertical of the subject was very flat and boring, so I decided to tilt my camera at an angle and take the same exact shot. Doing this placed the bulb of the flower in the upper-right third of the photo but didn’t skew it so much that it looked unnatural. For this image I find that the slanted image is much more pleasing to look at, and also tends to draws your eyes to other parts of the image.

Using this method can add a different “mood” or “feel” to your images depending on the subject, lighting, location, etc. When we look at the world through our eyes our brains will compensate for whatever direction our heads are tilted and we always see the horizon as being leveled. So when we see an angled photograph it makes us want to “fix” it in our minds therefore making the image more interesting to look at. This, in turn, will make the image stand out and add more depth to the photo.