Learn Photography: Photographic Composition – The Essential Part of Photography | Billijs | Skillshare

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Learn Photography: Photographic Composition – The Essential Part of Photography

teacher avatar Billijs, Creative Creator & Marketing

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

18 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Introduction to the online learning course

    • 2. Basic Principles of Composition of Photography

    • 3. Finding the point of interest

    • 4. The layers of photography

    • 5. Last thoughts about the basic principles

    • 6. Composition Rules

    • 7. Rule of thirds

    • 8. Symmetry

    • 9. Leading Lines

    • 10. Frame Within A Frame

    • 11. Composition Techniques

    • 12. Leading the attention to the center

    • 13. Keeping the edges of a frame clean

    • 14. Keeping the horizon straight

    • 15. The power of unique angles

    • 16. Using color to create impact

    • 17. Share your pictures!

    • 18. You did it!

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About This Class

In this course, you will learn the most important thing for capturing amazing pictures. You will learn how to master Photography Composition!

Photographic Composition is the first thing you should learn if you want to start capturing great pictures. Through these video lessons, I will guide you step by step through the basics of composition, composition rules for capturing good looking photos with ease, and also some techniques which can turn nice photos into art pieces.

This online course is created for beginners but includes also useful techniques for professional photographers who want to learn how to create even better pictures.

Don't miss the opportunity to become a better photographer – start the course now!

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Creative Creator & Marketing


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1. Introduction to the online learning course: Hey there, I'm Bill is. In this course you will learn the most important thing for capturing amazing pictures. You will learn how to master photography composition. I will guide you step-by-step from basic principles to composition rules, and then to some composition techniques. So that at the end of the course, you are equipped with the knowledge for creating breathtaking photos, becoming a much better photographer. Are you ready to improve your skills? I'm sure you are. So let's go start the course. 2. Basic Principles of Composition of Photography: I wanted to start this lesson with the basic principles of composition. Composition is the way in which salting is put together or arranged. The combination of parts of elements that make up a picture. In general, composition is the art of framing elements with the call to do it in an eye pleasing way. Let's pretend that we are at the location where we want to take the photo. We see this house and we wanted to take photo fit and add this small. And we understand that we want to make the model better then any other person would do. And this is the composition process. The process where we choose what part of their location and how much of it we want to capture in the photo. We can take a photo in various ways. For example, we can create a vertical folder so that the houses in the left side more to the bottom of the image. So that we reveal the house on the top of the hill and show that it isn't alone only house in the middle of nowhere, but there are also other things around it. We could also choose to make it horizontal and create the effect that it is a lonely house. But we also show that there is a small river next to it, which flows into the lake and it is next to the house. This brings the focus more to the near surroundings of the house. And then we can also go with the broader approach should with a wide angle lens and create this'll wide picture of all of the things we saw before. And even include the mountain behind the house and the sky to make the photo focused more on the mountain. And the nature. Make the house look small and not as important as in the previous examples. As you just saw. Composition is the art of moving the camera and choosing the right equipment so that the elements we choose C, create a picture that looks good and creates certain thoughts and emotions in the minds of the viewers. 3. Finding the point of interest: Let us continue with the basic principles by learning about the point of interest. Most photographers wish their pictures would make more impact, including a main point of interest in the composition is a great way to change a photo from a snapshot to forego that looks perfectly framed and captured. First, you should identify what you would like to use as your main point of interest and then composed around it so that it gives more information about a point of interest, about the surroundings, the situation. Other objects and details should not look as important as the point of interest. In more situations, the main point of interest is obvious, but if it is not, you can find or create one yourself. Try to find a way to highlight the point of interest and that will immediately glad your picture make a greater impact. Now I wanted to show you some examples so that you can learn to identify the point of interest. This is a great folder. Mc acid has a very strong point of interest. It is the rock in the water. And this is a great example because actually there's nothing else in the picture that would ask for our attention. And the surroundings of it aesthetically lead us into this moment, which seems to be all about disruptive in the water. The next picture looks nice, but there is one little problem. When you look at it. There are those harsh waves crashing into the rocks and rocks themselves are very bored. And then there is the person. There are many objects that crave for the viewers attention. In my opinion, the person could have been chosen as the main point of interest. And the picture could have been taken from another angle where the rocks lead into the main object, rather than competing with it for the viewers attention. It could be achieved by using leading lines or framing the object. It will learn about these methods later in this course. I don't think that we have to think twice to see the point of interest in this photo. It is the hands. The minimalist approach to this picture, combined with the color Congress of the hands and the walls, made a point of interests ten out and 70K. And understand that the photographs go west to tell us something about these empty hands. I guess if other star you might have thought illegal, then now at the point of interest is becoming quite clear. Here it is the palm tree that is separated from the background by this Modi, looking missed. It made the palm tree stand out and easily guys the viewer's eye to what really the picture is about. Here is an example of how we can draw the focus of people to the main object. It is by making the background blurred. It does not matter that much whether it is by using slow shutter speed like in this picture, along glands and wide aperture, or even done in post-production. The main goal here was to make it clear what people should look at. 4. The layers of photography: We live in a 3D world. When we move, everything else changes. We see the sides of things that we did not know about before we moved by. The photos that we capture are still to the using layers and composition is a great way to show some characteristics are the 3D world. In a 2D picture, we can use layers to achieve the illusion of depth that the term layers photograph or understand the foreground, middle ground, and background in the pictures. And you take folder attention to the things that are closer to year. Maybe it is a cup of tea, maybe leaves. Or maybe it is a person standing in front of you. And that is the foreground. It is usually used to lead into the picture. By looking further, you will see the middle ground where usually we can see the main object or person. And by looking even further, you will see in the background which can tell more about the environment, where the point of interest is, and what the situation is like. You can arrange these layers by moving your camera position and change in your focal length to change how the layers look in your image. For example, we can take a look at this image. There are some trees and the rock that are closer and are kind of leading us into the picture. This is the foreground. Then a little further there is the big mountain, some peak pore and grass. This is the middle ground. And then there are the mountains far away in the sky, which are the background. In this picture. The foreground is the grass on the right side, which leads to the left, where the middle ground is with the people. And then there is this beautiful misty background that tells us more about when and where the people are and where they are going. This is a great example of how composition can change the story and the meaning of a picture. You all know the typical stock photos of people in fields when their hands in the air. That is supposed to symbolize freedom, right? This picture is different. The foreground makes us feel like the girl in the picture is in a field where it is not easy to move, where the corn is growing so tall that it almost reaches her shoulders. And it does not look like freedom. When you take a look at the background, you will notice that we don't see the sky. We see the field and the trees. And it feels like there are some challenges in her way. By moving the camera, you can change the layers of an image. And that can change the whole story of the picture. And the last picture I want to show you is this one. I love how the different colors separate each layer of the picture. There is this leg in the foreground, which leads us into this location. Then there is the reflection of the cars in the water that makes us pay more attention to the point of interest in this picture. The cars in the middle ground and then the mountains in the background. And give this picture another layer of depth and Magnus image come to life. From this point on. Before capturing and follow, take a look around you. Look for these layers and let our pictures tell deeper stories. 5. Last thoughts about the basic principles: I hope that you learn something in this part of the course that will improve your photography. And remember that composition is the heart of photography thing before you take folder, always tried to find a point of interest and look around to see how you can use layers to turn just a simple photo in a breathtaking one. 6. Composition Rules: In this lesson, you will learn how to create better pictures by using rules of composition. Actually, these aren't really rules. I would like to say that these are guidelines for knowing exactly where to put elements of the picture so that they look balanced and eye pleasing. When you learn and practice these brains force, it will become easy to myself photography, composition. 7. Rule of thirds: Almost every decent photographer knows the rule of thirds. It is the most common rule in photography and quite easy to learn to describe the rule of thirds. Imagine that this gray space is the photo you will capture. Before taking the photo, divide the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. As you can see here, the four intersection points of these lines and the four lines themselves are where the subjects and other important elements of the photograph can be placed to create a good looking picture. Let's look at some examples. This is a strong and balanced picture. If I would ask you where the point of interest is, you probably would say that the main point of interest is the person standing on Iraq. When using the rule of thirds, usually Matt is the subject, which we should try it. But on the intersection points of the lines that we imagined. Here, you can see that it is on a point are the right line curses the bottom line. The next image shows that we can also use the rule of thirds for placing strong compositional lines of a photograph. When we add the lines of the rule of thirds, it shows that the line of this hill is very close to the bottom line. The same principle can be used, plays the horizon on one of the lines, for example, when capturing landscapes or cityscape pictures. We can also see that it looks crazy that the people are placed close to the intersection point of the right and bottom line. The third photo shows us that this principle can also be used for product photography. Here are two earrings that are placed on the intersection points of the bottom line using this rule and also helps to put some kind of object on the other side of the image that elites entered the picture and creates the atmosphere of the photograph. This rule is a very basic one and can improve your photography right away. To make it easier to see the lines. Most of the recent cameras and phones have the option to despite the lines on your screen so that it is easier to create a great composition. Learn the rule of thirds, and it will level up your photography skill in no time. 8. Symmetry: The second guideline to create composition would be using symmetry, also known as formal balance or symmetrical balance. Symmetrical images can be created by looking for compositions where by dividing the photo into house, both of them seem to hold the same weight. It looks great if one of the house is mirroring the other one. By the basic principle is that both halves are made of similar elements. The composition doesn't need to be a mirror image of that to house. Using symmetry gives you a picture a certain load that can look amazing. But be careful because shooting only symmetrical photos can make you look like a beginner. Tried to create a couple symmetrical pictures in every photo shoot with learned also on the other rules to achieve professional-looking photo stories. Now, I will show you some examples. The first emerged is made with symmetry that almost looks like a mirror when we draw a vertical line in the center of the image. As you can see, the left side looks almost the same as the right side. The monumental looks symmetrical itself. The path to it also is symmetrical. And the trees on both sides also look very similar. When taking a photo like this, we have to pay attention to position the camera exactly in the center of the path. This picture is a great example on how making 1.5 of the picture mirror the other one creates an amazing photo. We can also use this way of creating the compensation of an image for portraits as people are almost symmetrical. So we can look for location that has similar elements on both sides of the path or street. And ask the model to pose in the middle of the photon. In this picture, the model is not perfectly symmetrical because of the different positions off her arms. But this is acceptable because the Armed are quite small element of the whole picture. Most of the time, small things that make the image look imperfect. Market also look a little more interesting and drill. The third picture is an example how symmetry walks also in pictures which are not the mirroring effect. When we divide this photo in to House leak and see that there are differences on both sides, but they look similar and none of the house is much darker than the other, and there are no big elements on only one side that would ask for the viewers attention. This is how a symmetrical photo can be made by making both sides hold the same wave, even if they are different. To become a gray photographer, you should use different composition rules to achieve variety and let your pictures tell a strong and interesting story. 9. Leading Lines: If I look at some of the images that I would describe as the best of all time, I am 100% sure that there would be pictures in which leading lines and perspective are used to make them look powerful and balanced. Leading lines is a technique where the attention in a photo is drawn to the lines that lead to the main subject of the picture. It is a great technique for creating amazing portraits for street photography, architecture, and many other niches. I will show you two practical examples which will let you understand the principle better. Here you can see an interesting portrait. There are many interesting things in the background, but do we focus on one, that the person? Why is it like that? Why do we focus so much on the person? Actually, there are many answers to these questions. But the main reason is that there are leading lines and bleed the attention to the model. Let me show you what I mean. Try to find lines in this picture that they're made from the visual elements in the picture. Here, I have drawn some of them. These are the leading lines. They are almost like arrows that lead our attention to the place where they would cross R and, and the goal would be to put our main subject in that place so that everything in the picture seems to lead us to what is the most important element there model. And here is the other folder. As you can see, the perspective from which the photo was taken makes us feel like there are paths to the main subject. The lights which are closer to the cameras seemed to be larger. And the further they are, the smaller they seem. Which creates those invisible lines that seem to point to the man standing there. Also, when looking at the shadows, there are clear lines which lead to the subject. There are many kinds of elements and even lights or shadows can create the illusion of leading lines. The more you practice noticing the leading lines and perspective around you, the more you can see them. There's even no need for the camera. We can train our eyes to find these elements where ever we go. So that when we take the camera in our hands, we already know where we had to go and how we how to position the camera to create a stunning image. 10. Frame Within A Frame: In photography composition, a frame within a frame is a wend photographer is using a visual element in the image to frame the primary subject. This is an underused and very effective way to create an amazing conversation which helps move the viewers eye towards the subject. There can be various kinds of frames. And the more original the frame is, the better the image seems. A frame can be a door, a window, a tunnel, a hole in the wall, or smartphone screen. With an opened camera app. It can even be areas of light and shadows. Now I will show you how the frames look when used in photos. This first picture is a classic doorway frame. It is a very obvious frame and surrounds the subject. In this image, you can even see that there are several frames in the background and lead the attention of the viewer to the head of the person. Another classic frame is a window. By changing the subject in the frame of the window. The distance from the camera to the window, to lights and other factors are window can create the feeling of being staggered home, but also the feeling of freedom. When you see a frame that you can use, look around, think about emotions and the story that you want to tell the viewer, and find the best conversation that will make your photo look and feel Gray. The third image shows us that we can experiment with elements so that they all together create a frame within a frame. In this example, there are objects that have been placed so that they create a frame. And even the shadow on the left side is used to make the frame complete. Frames don't have to be rectangles. They can also be circles, triangles, or any other form. The main focus is to make the picture look like terrorists, something that surrounds the subject so that it brings the eye of the viewer inside a frame where the subject is. 11. Composition Techniques: In this lecture, you will learn how to create breathtaking photos by using conversation techniques that are used by world famous photographers to create professional-looking images. These are simple tips that can easily make photos more interesting and look purposely captured. The techniques which I will cover our techniques which every decent photographer should know and use on a regular basis. 12. Leading the attention to the center: We will start with the first technique, leading attention to the inside of the photo. This means that if there are objects which has some kind of leading element in them, for example, arrows or a person who looks to the left or to the right. It usually is a good idea to position them so that they point to the center of the image, which will lead the viewer's eye, the inside of the folder, not outside the image. By keeping the attention inside the image, it gives us the opportunity to use other elements and backgrounds to better show the user. What do we want to tell them about the situation and the location of where the subject is. When you look at this photo, everything looks kind of good. It looks interesting as it is shot at dusk and also feels like it is just before the total darkness. There is the small known in the calm sky, blue mountains and the nature of Georgia. The problem is that the main subject is the cow, and it does not look interesting in the scene. Ekg looks outside of the picture as if the more interesting things are outside of it. What we as photographers should do is either turn a subject so that it points to the inside of the picture. Are move ourselves to create a composition that is on the other side of the subject. This would create a better image. And others use more of the surroundings to make a bigger impact. In this picture, you can see that the person is pointed towards the center of the image, which makes us look to the whole picture, especially the elements that are in front of him. This is a better image because it makes us appreciate more of the picture and does not make us wonder why the person is not interested in the elements which are inside of the image. The third example also is a good one. There is the guy on the rocks and he's looking to the inside of the picture. As in my opinion, the most interesting elements of this picture. If we would exclude the person which is the point of interest, would be this chi, and the mountains and the sea in the background. So it might have been even better if the person would not look down. What more towards the sky? Cleaned more attention to the interesting parts of the image. Of course, this might be just my preference. And every artist has their right to use composition in the way that they think would create the best image. 13. Keeping the edges of a frame clean: A mistake that a lot of photographers make is not watching the edges of the image. You should pay particular attention to the borders of your frame so that you do not include cut-off hands or other elements of the objects that do not belong in the frame. Distracting things and the edges of the image can draw attention away from the focal point. Let's look at two examples. In this picture, you can see that there is a drone pilot and also a drone. It does not fit into the frame. That looks bad. And no professional photographer should accept creating images like this where our object is visible. But at the same time, a half of it is cut off. You can solve this problem in two ways. The first one would be cutting the frame so that the other object is not visible. This could be the best way to do it if the object has nothing to do with the main subject. But in this example, we should go for the second way of solving this problem. And that would be including the whole object in the frame. This will make the viewer understand that the guy on the left side isn't drone pilot. And tell more about what he's doing. There are times when we should try to get rid of distracting elements. But as this example shows us, we should always stop for a moment and think about what the photo is about. And whether we should include more elements in the picture to tell better stories, or leave the frame without order distracting elements to bring the focus to the main point of interest. The second example is this one. We can see that there is the bird who is the main subject, and then there is also a part of another bird in the picture. This kind of composition looks terrible because we can see that there is the other burn. When there are parts that are cut off. To make the framing better. We could again cut the frame so that there is only one bird visible. In this case, as we can see, the bird does not lead attention of the viewers to the centre. So what we could do is capture a wider picture and include also the other bird in the picture and show the view that both birds are interacting with each other. Which turns a quite boring picture into a much more interesting one. Of course, we can discuss whether the composition is perfect in that picture or not. But in my opinion, it is almost always better to tell a good story. Then creating perfect composition. 14. Keeping the horizon straight: The next step is a very basic one. But it is very important to mention because lots of beginner photographers start capturing photos without thinking about it. And it is to keep the horizon straight. When people don't do this, the picture looks bad and it looks like a tourist snapshots that has been quickly taken without thinking about making the picture look good. Here is one example on how a picture could be captured by a beginner. When we draw a straight horizontal line, it is obvious that this is just a snapshot and the horizon is not straight. To correct this mistake, we can just rotate the camera so that the horizon is straight as it can be seen here. And now, when we draw the horizontal line, we can see that the horizon is straight and the image looks much better than before. Nowadays, the cameras have developed so far that almost every camera, even on phones, create high resolution pictures, which can be cut and rotated so that it looks better and still is vivid, decent quality and resolution. You should also take in consideration when there is no visible horizon. As this example shows us, there can be many straight lines in a location. When we are photography from an angle, the horizontal lines on the ground starts to look like they are not straight. And that is okay. When we capture a photo like this, we should pay attention to the elements which are strayed from various different angles. Most of the time you can try to make the walls straight, but sometimes nothing seems to be straight, especially when we are capturing photos from high, low, and other unique angles. In these cases, it should be OK to go with your gut feeling and make it just feels trade. Although sometimes there are situations where this also Kane not domain the photo perfectly straight to create some kind of emotion and movement. 15. The power of unique angles: In this weird time, when everybody seems to have a camera with them, always in their pocket. There is an opportunity to stand out from their phone photography crowd with one simple trick. Use unique angles. When taking photos. Most of the people take out their phone and point the camera straight to the point of interest without thinking. This is why most of the pictures nowadays are shot from eye level. To make your photos better, year should start to look at the locations and objects differently. Find unique angles, moved closer or further from. Objects. Need down or climb on something to create pictures that no one else would capture because they are too lazy to do these things. When you shoot from a low angle and gives the subject dominance and power. Subjects that otherwise might look very feminine or young started look confident, strong, and important. Therefore, there are also many fashion photographers who use low angles to make the clothes look important and let people feel at varying this specific kind of fashion will also make them look more important and confident. As you can see in this picture, an old farmer who otherwise might look vk without any specific importance, is now looking very important and strong. And even this simple farmers job can look incredible. By moving the camera from a low angle to a high angle. It can create the opposite effect. It can make the subject look very feminine, queued, and vulnerable. When taking a photo from above, in maize, the eyes of the person look larger and embody looks smaller, which creates a baby like effect. In this short, you can see that Puppies, when captured from the top, looks even cuter. The last example for this tip is this on. I think it shows well how moving closer to the object can create a very different picture than people usually would capture. The emphasis in this picture is not as much on this attraction, but more on the geometrical lines and figures which make it look original and how visual impact that would not be there if the person wouldn't have moved closer and found an angle, which is unique. These techniques are also often used in movies. For example, most of the times the main characters are shot from a little lower angle. So that no matter how tall the person is, it always looks important. When there are big opponents. They are usually filmed from a very low angle. What small, cute subjects are filmed from a high angle? By using unique angles, you can show things that would not be seen otherwise. And create pictures like no one has done before. Or even hide elements that are taking away the focus from the subject to make the picture look stronger. Finding you need animals can be a game changer for a lot of photographers because it lets us ten out from the crowd and position our style as a unique one, which in this industry can help a lot. 16. Using color to create impact: Color is an important part of every photo. It can be used in many different ways to change the mood and improve the composition of an image. Color usually is the main reason why picture stand out from other pictures. By keeping colors in mind while creating a composition. There can be achieved in different kinds of results. Color can make the main subject pop out by using opposite colors. We can achieve color contrast. Separate the subject from the background so that we clearly see where the main subject is and automatically pay much more attention to it. As you can see here, the yellow of the orange creates a very noticeable contrast from the blue background. And in this photo, the orange town pops out of the teal background. The same principle works in this picture of the sea and the sand. The skin of people most of the time is with an orange hue. Therefore, we can make a person stand out in the picture. If we find a blue or teal background. And the background can be the sky or buildings, or to see everything that is with the blue hue. We can also use color for creating different styles. For example, by using the same colour or at least similar colors, we can create minimalist pictures like these. One of the main purposes of photos is to create emotions. And if we want to create these emotions, color can be l, very important factor. Colors can look happy when we use various and bright colors. A follow can seem aggressive or evil. If we use dark green, blue, red colors. We can also change the whole feeling of a picture by changing how cold or warm or picture looks. Usually pictures with their blue hue look called worrying take forward or in the winter, or on other occasions where it seems called using blue colors can create this feeling even stronger. Pictures which are yellow, orange, red, or brown, usually look warm. We can use these colors to create a warm feeling of home or cafe. Alot of people also prefer warm colors for a wedding photos, family photo sessions, and other pictures which are related with friendship, love. Another aspect of color is the absence of it. We can also create black and white pictures which are without any saturated colors. Black and white or monochrome pictures lead a forest more to the texture and geometry of the subjects and elements in the picture. Black and white pictures also can create a vintage look or make other kinds of feelings which mostly are associated with historical pictures. 17. Share your pictures!: The skill share, there is this great opportunity to share your work with others so that others also see what you have created and what your learning process was. I, and the other students really want see what you have learned. You would appreciate it if you would share your photography progress with us. Please add your best pictures as a project to this class. If you haven't captured any foils yet, there is a free downloadable PDF in the course resources that will remind you about some principles you have learned in these lessons so that you can capture some great pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures you have taken. 18. You did it!: Awesome, you did it. You have completed this photography composition course. And this is just the beginning. With the knowledge that you have at this point, it is possible to create a spectacular images, create incredible stories. You are on your array to become a master of photography. I hope you truly enjoy this course. If you have any questions, let me know. And if you created any new pictures that you are proud of, let me know. I would love to share them with the rest of the students. If you haven't already done, please leave a rating and review this course. These are views helped me make this course better and help new students find this course. Thank you again and have a great day.