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Frame a Great Shot: Exploring Photo Composition | Learn with EyeEm

Porter Yates, Photographer

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13 Videos (1h 17m)
    • Introduction

    • Finding the Right Environment

    • 'Exotic' as a Crutch

    • Exploring the Unexpected

    • Photographing the Fringe

    • Controlling Your Background

    • Finding Cleanliness in Chaos

    • A Note About Gear and Settings

    • Adding Layers and Visual Elements

    • Shooting Non-Descriptive Elements

    • Making the Viewer Ask Questions

    • Conclusion

    • Bonus Exercise: Masters' Work


About This Class

Go beyond the expected in your next photo adventure! Join EyeEm’s Photographer of the Year, Porter Yates, for an inspiring one-hour composition class about capturing images that evoke intrigue — whether you're shooting digital, film, or Instagram. 

In this class, Porter critiques a selection of his own work from his travels to Asia, Africa and the Americas — sharing insights and tips on how to make a good photograph great:

  • finding the right environment to shoot 
  • controlling your background (even if it's the foreground) 
  • layering and visual elements 
  • incorporating "non-descriptive" elements 
  • creatively cropping to add a sense of mystery 

This is not a technical class about camera settings and gear – it’s a creative exploration that will help you develop your eye for compelling imagery and hone the way you shoot.

You’ll leave this class with newfound inspiration and an arsenal of techniques to apply to your next photograph!


What You'll Learn

  • Introduction. Photo processing aside, for now, you’ll learn how to create a compelling photographic image using compositional techniques that Porter Yates uses to make his photography not good, but great. Whether you’re focusing on iPhone photography or using high-grade equipment, Porter will help you compose a powerful shot.
  • Finding the right environment. You’ll get tips on how to put yourself in the right places at the right times to capture amazing photographic moments.
  • ‘Exotic’ as a crutch. You’ll learn that becoming a photographer means more than just capturing the unfamiliar — you have to get involved in the environment where you shoot. Porter will show you the difference between a good tourist photograph and a great, professional-grade photograph.
  • Exploring the unexpected. Expanding on Porter’s last tips, you’ll take a look at some photographs that depict an event and compare those to photographs that tell stories, raise questions, and feature characters.
  • Photographing the fringe. When it comes to photographing big events, you’ll learn to avoid taking the easy crowd shot in favor of shooting subjects on the edges of the event for more intriguing compositions.
  • Controlling your background. You’ll learn to capture compositionally relevant backgrounds that focus attention on your main subject(s). In addition, you’ll see how light can illuminate and shade your subjects to create different narratives.
  • Finding cleanliness in chaos. You’ll find that being a photographer means being in charge of your work. By controlling your photograph’s background, you’ll learn smart methods for getting colors in the background to interact with those in the foreground, and you’ll learn how to strategically leave visual elements out of your shot to form narratives.
  • A note about gear and settings. You’ll get an introduction to adding layers to literally and emotionally bring more dimensions to your work. Porter will go over technical camera settings that increase depth of field and otherwise allow you to capture clarity in your photograph’s foreground and background.
  • Adding layers and visual elements. You’ll learn how to take set-up shots that allow you to carefully hone in on the scene you’re aiming to capture. Porter will teach you techniques that will help draw viewers into your photographs, like only capturing parts of an object/subject and relating forms to each other in such a way that establishes your photograph’s flow.
  • Shooting non-descriptive elements. In order to truly engage a viewer, sometimes you have to hold back certain information. Comparing a descriptive and a nondescriptive photograph, you’ll learn how to tell a story with a cliffhanger ending and how to become part of the scene that you’re shooting to more effectively reveal your subjects.
  • Making the viewer ask questions. You’ll learn how to avoid the easy way out when it comes to obscuring information in your compositions. With Porter’s tips under your belt, you’ll be able to figure out how to start a photography business that produces work for clients that not only captures scenery, but also keep customers wanting more.


EyeEm is a community for all photographers — new and experienced — to unleash their creativity and get discovered. They connect over 18 million photographers and promote a talented global community through exhibitions, brand missions, and a marketplace to sell and buy authentic, royalty-free images.

314 of 318 students recommendSee All

Great class and tips
Very different approach to photography, loved the fact that the teacher encourages his audience to be more subjective by talking about techniques like layers.
One of the best Photography Courses about Composition. I have watched a lot of lessons in SkillShare and this one really stands out!
Odysseas Chloridis

Amateur Photographer & Marketeer





Porter Yates


Porter's interest in the varying levels of connection between himself and the people he encounters is the primary theme in his work. He looks to reveal universal elements that express the human condition as well as capturing people's relationships to their community and environment.

He has traveled extensively to Asia and the Americas, finding inspiration in the beauty and uniqueness of place and its culture. Venturing into remote places, and introducing himself into a new community, h...

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