Perfect Photo Composition - Learn the Techniques to take your photography to the next level | Frank Minghella | Skillshare

Perfect Photo Composition - Learn the Techniques to take your photography to the next level

Frank Minghella, Perfect Photo Company

Perfect Photo Composition - Learn the Techniques to take your photography to the next level

Frank Minghella, Perfect Photo Company

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18 Lessons (2h 21m)
    • 1. Perfect Composition Introduction

      1:52
    • 2. MODULE 1. Planned or Spontaneous

      4:53
    • 3. MODULE 2. Simplicity Rules

      9:31
    • 4. MODULE 3. Cropping

      3:28
    • 5. MODULE 4. The Rule of Thirds

      8:34
    • 6. MODULE 5. Framing

      4:10
    • 7. MODULE 6. Viewpoints

      8:02
    • 8. MODULE 7. Leading Lines

      6:13
    • 9. MODULE 8. Landscapes

      8:23
    • 10. MODULE 9. Line

      5:52
    • 11. MODULE 10. Symmetry

      4:55
    • 12. MODULE 11. Vanishing Points

      6:32
    • 13. MODULE 12. Curves and Shapes

      5:52
    • 14. MODULE 13. Pattern

      6:49
    • 15. MODULE 14. Staged and Props

      6:53
    • 16. MODULE 15. Portraits

      18:17
    • 17. MODULE 16. Street

      15:27
    • 18. The Technique Test

      15:24
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About This Class

Hi everyone and welcome to the Perfect Photo Composition Course

This course will introduce you to the many techniques that will take your photography to the next level. Once you understand the various techniques and photographic rules you really will unlock your creativity. No matter what style of photography interests you applying professional techniques will guarantee professional results.

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Each course module will guide and inspire you with simple to follow explanations and fabulous examples. And when you have completed the course you can take the short exam which is a fun way to test yourself. You will also be given a photographic assignment to complete which will include the techniques covered throughout the course. Then upload your favourite shots for review by yours truly.

I promise once you begin to apply the techniques explained during this course you really will unleash your creativity and never again will you capture an ordinary photograph. So come and join me and learn the skills to make you a better photographer.

Meet Your Teacher

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Frank Minghella

Perfect Photo Company

Teacher

 

Hello, I'm Frank, Photographer, media lecturer and obsessive creative. (and part time rock star... : )

Photography is my biggest passion and teaching photography allows me to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with others, which I love to do. Over the years I have taught photography I like to think I have created a whole new generation of creative photographers.

 

My mission is to unleash your inner creativity by giving you the skills to become confident with your camera. Once you have been shown how to get the best from your camera you will become capable of capturing exciting images and the Auto setting will become a distant memory.

 

I make learning how to use your camera fun with easy to follow animated explanati... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Perfect Composition Introduction: Hi. I'm Frank Minghella, professional photographer and photography teacher with the Perfect Photo Company. Now in this course, I'm going to introduce you to the many photographic techniques that will take your photography to the next level. Once you understand the various techniques of photographic rules, you really will unlock your creativity. No matter what style of photography interests you, applying professional techniques will guarantee professional results. Each course module would guide and inspire you with simple to follow explanations and beautiful examples. When you've completed the course, you can take the short exam, which is a fun way to test yourself. You will also be given a photographic assignment to complete, which will include the techniques covered throughout the course. Then upload your favorite shots for review by yours truly. I promise once you begin to apply the techniques explained during this course, you really will unleash your creativity and never again will you capture an ordinary photograph. So come and join me and learn the skills to become a better photographer. 2. MODULE 1. Planned or Spontaneous: The photographs we see day-to-day tend to be planned or spontaneous. It's a mix of both. I tend to plan all my shoots and I do that because I'm a commercial photographer and that's how I make a living. But I do love to take spontaneous shots as well, and they both have the place. So let's jump in and take a look at some photographs and then we'll discuss the differences between the two. This first photograph then is of the late great Keith Chegwin. Now, if you're not from the UK, you may not be familiar with this guy, but he was entertainment legend in the UK. Sadly not with us anymore. But I'd been commissioned by Liverpool City Council to photograph an event. The event was, we were allowing the people of Liverpool to walk through the magic tunnel. It doesn't sound exciting, but trust me, thousands showed up. Keith's job was to entertain the crowd, my job was to photograph him. This was a planned shoot. So throughout the day, I captured a selection of photographs and I also photographed any celebrities that showed up as well. Here we have Paul McCartney's brother, Michael McCartney with John Goldman. Now, it was while I was taking these photographs that my eye strayed across to the tunnel entrance which was a couple of hundred yards away, and I could see a solitary figure sitting at the entrance to the tunnel. It really got my interest go. So I run over with my camera, and this was the photograph that I captured. It's of a grand old lady, and she was sitting about to lead the crowd through the tunnel. Her story is that her husband, her late husband was the Chief Engineer. When they were building the tunnel and the two sides met in the middle, her husband was the Chief Engineer from Liverpool who made the first breakthrough. So she was the guest of honor going through the tunnel. What this photograph captures is the total look of pride in her face, doesn't it? She looks really proud. Again, it's a total spontaneous shot. I had no idea I would get the shot and no idea she'd be sitting at the entrance to the tunnel. So it's spontaneous. You have to be on your guard and you have to keep an open mind. You just don't know what you're going to say, but spontaneous photographs can be absolutely brilliant. In fact, this was the best photograph that I took on the day. Now, on a trip to Madrid, I captured this shot of the Palacio de Cristal in Retiro park, and it's a total planned shot. I knew I was going to get this shot, I knew what time of day to get there, I knew the angle I was going to shoot from. I arrived there, setup, got the shot, totally planned in the lovely blue light, all planned. But on the way back to the hotel, I captured this shot, which is a totally spontaneous shot. I do love this shot. I love the way the guy in the barber shop is getting all his hair removed and yet this lady walking past has got a big head of afro hair. It's the juxtaposition of the two, isn't it? That look makes that shot work, but I really love that shot. Two completely different shots from Madrid, one planned, one spontaneous. Now as I said, most of my shots tend to be planned like this one of Sophie. Sophie would arrive at my studio about the evening before. She'd asked, ''How do you what my hair?'' I'd say, ''Well, leave it all curly because I want to frame your face with all the curls. I want to use a Clamshell light technique," and I can see the lights in the eyes the way I've done there, and I need exact backdrop I was going to put in as well. So that's a totally planned shot. A lot of my portrait shots tend to be planned. Also my Liverpool cityscapes. This one of the Liverpool's skyline, I took the ferry across the Mersey and captured this shot. Then this would end up in a frame to be sold in a local gallery. I've been lucky enough to sell quite a few of these. There's plenty of places you can sell your work online, websites such as Etsy. That's for you to look into. Now at the end of the whole course, all the modules, when you've completed them all, I'm going to give you an assignment and a course that will be planned because there will be certain criteria on the assignment that you need to fulfill, and that'll be planned only. There will be a section there on street photography, and of course, that's more spontaneous, isn't it? But, yeah, planned or spontaneous, they both have the place, both fantastic, and it's what makes photography really exciting. I'll see you in the next module. 3. MODULE 2. Simplicity Rules: Now the phrase that you're going to hear time and time again throughout this course is, keep it simple. I make no apologies for that. Because it really is important that you keep your compositions simple. That sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it? You will think that the more information and the more detail that you put into your photograph, the better they would look, but that's far from the case. To get your message across, to get your own narrative across, to get your story across, to raise an emotion, it helps so much if your composition is nice and simple. If it's clustered, then that message, or that narrative, or that emotion is going to be lost. Throughout each module, I'm sure at some point I will mention, "Keep it simple" because it's really important. Let's jump in. I want to show you some examples. I want to show you exactly what I mean. In this first photograph, what do we have? We have a young chap on a swing, we have the sky, we have the sea, and we have the shoreline. That's all we have. Straight away, it raises an emotion, doesn't it? It's carefree, it's thought-provoking, it's life affirmed, and if you like, just by those couple of simple elements. This one even breaks one of the rules of photography in having a horizon that isn't straight. Now it's okay to do that but not with a body of water because water wouldn't run downwards to it. But when he does photograph as good as this, you can actually break the rules. But this photograph to me, it's simple, it conveys an emotion straight away as soon as you look at it. It's pleasant to look at. It got very few elements and it typifies what a simple photograph is. Let's look at a few more then. This shot was captured by one of my students, and we wanted to create a maritime photograph because Liverpool is a maritime city steeped in a maritime culture. You could photograph the dock sides, you could photograph the tall ships, but in this case, I suggested that the students focusing on the rope, on the key sides, because that rope to me tells a story, it's called history. The amount of ships that have arrived at Liverpool and being tied up using a rope like this or one similar. It just conveys that story to me. Big apertures being used to blur the background, so obviously the key part of this photograph, without any doubt, is the rope at the front. It's marvelous, isn't it? You can't see a ship in the background because the bokeh just been used, it's blurred out. It's not over complicated, and it's not clustered. It's a very simple shot isn't it? This shot has a really low viewpoints as well. We're going to look at viewpoints later, but the camera is quite low in this shot, which really helps too. This is another student photograph and it's Antony Gormley's installation on Crosby Beach in Liverpool. It's a lone, iron man, staring out to sea. All we have is the beach, the iron man, and the sky, and some water. It's very simple isn't it? Colors are lovely, can't deny, but it's a simple composition. We have our old friend here, which is creative empty space. Now it's thought-provoking isn't it? Now the installation was designed so that the iron man look out to sea as if to contemplate life, and of course, when we look at the image, that's the source of feeling we get as well, so we join him with the iron man if you like, and we contemplate life. But it's a very simple shot isn't it? This shot is one of my favorite photographs of all time, and if I could meet the photographer, I would shake his or her hand because I think it's absolutely brilliant. All we have, a two railway carriages, we have a younger lady on the right hand side, and an elderly lady on the left-hand side. The young lady is staring thoughtfully, and comfortably, and optimistically towards the camera, and the older lady is staring downwards as if to contemplate life and to reflect on a life well lived. If you look at the arm positions, they're in similar positions, aren't they? Which is quite unique. The other story I get from this is that, is the elderly lady a reflection of the younger woman in later years? Right down the middle of that shot is that reflection of, as I say the young lady in late years as an older lady. All from two carriages and two women sitting in separate carriages, and it just conveys that message. It's absolutely brilliant, isn't it? You fill the story in yourself with your own imagination. It was shot that raises the imagination in photography, that does that is wonderful, isn't it? I wouldn't have this shot hanging on my wall, but it's pleasant to look at. As I say, soon as I see it, it tells that story, or I want to know what the story is, that's another feeling that it gives you as well. A very, very simple, sharp but it works slowly, isn't it? This shot is four children; it's a shadow of four children. Now obviously, the photograph is being turned through 180 degrees, and you can see the legs of the children in this shot. However, just turn on the shot upside down, and we're allowed to do that. We get the shadows, and it's great, isn't it? We can see the sizes of the children, the ages of the children, the gender probably of the children as well, all from that shot. As these children grow up, they will always look back on the shot with fondness I would imagine. But I don't know the family, but I still found that shot pleasing and whimsical to look at. It raises an emotion, I think, "Wow, those children have started off on their journey in life, and what a great way to photograph them." That's something completely different and very, very simple, I just love that shot. This shot could have been created if, I imagine if it was a rain water puddle, so it's not a shadow, it's a reflection of the children in the rain water puddle, and again turn the photograph upside down. It's simple, isn't it? Put that simplicity, it's entertaining, and necessary tells a story. This photograph is wonderful, isn't it? It's a tale of two halves, and we can see the lady on the right hand side is getting bath in lovely warm water in a shower. The guy on the left hand side is being caught in the rain. One is happy to be getting soaked, and the other one isn't. It's also a reflection of life, I think in that we have our happy moments in life, and the lady in the shower she's euphoric, she's happy. But the same time, the guy on the left, he has shown us that life isn't always like that, and that we have our ups and downs. I like that. It's a balance of the two, isn't it? Of course it's a black and white. To the right-hand side of this shot is very white of the billboard poster, the guy is set against the black wall. For me, it's that reflection of life, if you like that. We do have fabulous moments in our life, but then we have to come back to reality and deal with the other parts of our life that are not so fabulous, and I just think to me that's what I get from that shot. It's the irony, isn't it? I suppose. The other ironic thing is, I like to think that inside the magazine on top of the guy's head, is the same photograph that we can see on the billboard poster, probably advertising some shower product to make it even more ironic. But that's what I get from that photograph. It's simple, isn't it? A billboard poster, a man walking in the rain, a magazine, a sidewalk, a pavement, if you like. That's all that's in that shot. It's just marvelous, isn't it? Here we have a tram driver and Brad Pitt. What combination? I didn't think I'll be saying that today. But you can see the tram driver, and Brad Pitt both have the same hand positions and they're contemplating their life. The tram driver looks a lot happier, because maybe he's about to finish his shift. I love the fact that Brad Pitt is advertising Channel number 5, and yet the tram driver has the number 19. Number 5 on the left, Number 19 on the right. It's just a front shot, isn't it? It's very simple. A tram driver, and again, an advertisements, very simple. But it's that whimsical little story that it tells, and I do love that shot dead simple. Lastly, we have another student shot, and it is a road mark. It's the old man at a pedestrian crossing. She has placed a twig underneath. It's phony, isn't it? It's just so simple. It's a road mark on a twig. But it's got movements because your imagination fills in the missing part. Your imagination imagines that that guy is going to continue walking off the twig until he gets to the top. I hope that all set of photographs help to show you the importance of keeping things simple. It helps you to convey the message, the narrative, to tell the story, to raise the emotion. If your photograph's too clustered, it just won't do that. Now, throughout the course, I want to show you loads of different techniques. Every important furnishing points to rule of thirds, to lead in line. I will always stress the importance of keeping it simple. Keep it simple along with the techniques that I'm going to show you and honestly photography will really start to improve. I'll see you in the next module. 4. MODULE 3. Cropping: Now, where we crop through body parts is really important because it can actually make or break a photograph if we get it wrong, and there's some simple rules to follow, and if you follow them, you should be okay. So let's jump in and take a look at some examples and I'll show you some things that don't work and some things that do work. So in this first shot then I've taken of a model at my studio, you can see that her arm actually leaves the photograph and then it re-enters the image, and that just looks wrong, doesn't it? Because it could be someone else's arm that's entering the image. How do we know it's her arm, and it becomes awkward to look at. So I have broken two rules there when it comes to cropping through body parts, one is I've allowed the limb to leave the photograph and then re-enter, and the second one is I've cropped at the joints and cropping at the joints is something that you want to avoid. In this next shot of Sarah walking down the streets in Liverpool. What happens when you take a shot like this is you tend to be walking backwards, and you always focus on the model's eyes, and sometimes when you do that you can overlook some important details, and in this case, I've managed to crop Sarah's feet off at the ankles and it just looks wrong. Now don't worry, I did get a good shot a bit later on when I realized, I'd done that, but it's an easy thing to do, and if you're a wedding photographer and you're following the bride, it's something that you have to be aware of. So let's look at some do's and don'ts then when it comes to cropping through body parts. Now, as I said, the obvious one is just avoid the joints, which is the ankles, the elbows, the wrists, the knees, and the safest place to crop through a body is through the waist or through the torso, and to be honest, just avoid the joints, you'll be fine if you do that. Just avoid the joints. But what about the top of the head then? Is it okay to crop off the top of the head? So is it okay to do that, would you do that? So I'm going to give you five seconds to have a little think about it. Would you take a photograph and crop the top of the head off? Now of course it's fine to do that. There are certain rules we can follow to ensure that it is okay to do it, and we're going to look at that later, the rule of thirds. So just to give you a little heads-up, if you excuse the pun, but yeah we'll look at that later. But this image is well balanced because I have followed the rule of thirds, and if I zoom in a bit more, and again, it's still well-balanced, it still has that two-thirds up from the bottom. It's something to do with our animal instincts that when we chat to a person, or when we look at a person, we obviously always look at the eyes, and so what's above the eye-line isn't really that important. So cutting it off doesn't really make any difference, now of course, you're not always going to aim to cut the top of the head off, that would be silly, wouldn't it. Somebody might be wearing a fancy hat or have a fancy hair cut, so you wouldn't want to do that. But just to make the point that it's fine on a close-up, of course it's fine to have the top of the head missing, so don't worry about it. Okay, I hope all that helped and I'll see you in the next module. 5. MODULE 4. The Rule of Thirds: In this module, we're going to take a look at the rule of thirds. Now, the rule of thirds is an absolutely brilliant compositional aid that you can use to create perfectly balanced photographs. Trust me, if you employ the rule of thirds in all your compositions, you will create vastly superior photographs and it's so simple to use. Let's jump in and take a look at the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds consists of a grid system. Imagine dividing up your photograph into nine equal sections using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Now the great artists throughout the centuries have used the rule of thirds to help them with their compositional layouts of their paintings. So if it was good enough for Leonardo da Vinci, it's good enough for me. Before we go any further, have a little think then of those nine sections, where would you place the most important compositional item of your photograph? You've got nine choices. Where would you place the most important item in your photograph? I'll give you five seconds. Now, of course, it's a trick question because I haven't taught you anything yet. But if you did say in the center, you'd be incorrect because when you use the rule of thirds, the center is completely omitted. Just forget all about the center of the photograph. Because when you employ the rule of thirds, that's the last place you place anything of any importance. Now, in all the modules, we're going to look at vanishing points, for instance. It's fine to have the compositional item in the center because your eyes are being led there. But when we use the rule of thirds, your eyes are not being led to the center, so don't place anything there. Now your eyes are generally drawn to the intersect points of the horizontal and vertical lines. Ideally, you would say, place the important subject matter on any of those four points. But of course, photography will be really boring if you did that. We tend instead to aim for the lines themselves, the vertical lines and the horizontal lines, and of course, the zones that surround the center as well. That's what we aim for. Here's some tips then of where to place your compositional elements. For portraits, we usually place the eyeline two-thirds up from the bottom. For horizons, we aim for that top line, or the bottom line, or of course the zones above or below. Main subject, vertical lines either side. Of course, don't forget the zones. The zones are very important, and you're going to see a selection of photographs where the zones are used quite heavily. Let's take a look at some examples then and I'll show you how the rule of thirds works. Here is a photograph of a good friend of mine. I'm sure you might recognize her. She's not looking very happy, and that's because she's been incorrectly photographed. If we put the rule of third grid, overlay that over the top of her face, you can see that her face is exactly in the center of the photograph, and that's what we don't want. Maybe if you look through some of your old family photographs, you may see that this happened quite a lot, and that's because people used to believe the important subject matter should be in the center. Of course, it shouldn't. In doing it, you create this area of what's known as dead space. It's a waste of space, if you like, at the top of your photograph. Let's retake that photograph using the rule of thirds. All of a sudden, she looks a lot happier, doesn't she? If we overlay the grid, you can see that indeed it does follow the rule of thirds guidelines. Looks a lot better, doesn't it? A lot more balanced. That's what it's all about, balancing your photograph by using the lines and the zones. Let's take a look at some more photographs then. This photograph of Sophie, the eyeline is two-thirds up and it's balanced perfect, isn't it? Let's take a look at another shot then. This one really does highlight the balance that you can create with the rule of thirds. Overlay in the grid, we can see that our main subject matter is on this vertical line. Then we have other important compositional license in the zones around the photograph. It works great, doesn't it? We could say that the horizon is the sand back that the park bench is on. Now, did you realize or did you notice that right in the center of the photograph is a little dog? Of course, your eyes aren't drawn to the center, so I'm sure you probably didn't even notice that. But looking at that photograph there, it has perfect balance and that's what the rule of thirds gives you. More examples, then this one's great, isn't it? An overlay in the grid, we can see that its completely followed rule of thirds with the lady in the zone on the right-hand side and ground level in the zone at the bottom and it all works perfect, doesn't it? In this shot, the horizon is right at the top. Again, obeying the rule of thirds. We never put our horizon through the center. Now you may see some photographs where the horizon does go through the center. Because as I said earlier, you can break the rules as long as you take an absolutely fantastic shot. You're allowed to do it. But generally, if you follow the rule of thirds, don't place the horizon through the center. This one with the children playing on the beach, everything at low level and the bottom zone. Perfect balance again. This shot I took in Madrid of the old lady walking past this very curious shop. You can see she is completely on that vertical line on the right-hand side and all that data is in the zones or the lines. A shot captured in [inaudible] , which is across the River Maze. Again, we can see that the horizon is indeed in the bottom zone of that photograph. It looks great and looks majestic. It makes the sky almost biblical because there's so much of it in the shot. Try that with your landscapes, either the horizon really high, or the horizon really low. Honestly, it will just create something magical. Lastly, the shot I captured in my local park of the old lady sitting on a park bench in the snow. As you can see, she is in the zone on the right-hand side. The rule of thirds, as you can see, it's so easy to follow. Now, you can actually on some cameras switch the grid on. I know you can certainly switch the grid on, on your mobile devices, on your cell phones, and some cameras, you can actually switch the grid on. I wouldn't advise you do that because it's easy to remember where the zones are underlined with the grid on but that's entirely up to you. Now, as part of the assignments which you'll get at the end of all the modules, obviously, rule of thirds is going to be part of that assignment. I definitely want you to start practicing using rule of thirds because honestly, it's a brilliant compositional aid. I've since moved into making short films and I use rule thirds all the time. Now when you watch the TV or a movie tonight, watch how many times you can see the rule of thirds being used. You'll become familiar with it, and I'm sure you'll take much better photographs if you start applying it. I'll see you in the next module. 6. MODULE 5. Framing: Framing your subject is a really great way to direct your viewer's eyes to the subject matter. I don't mean using a picture fame, but find something in your environment that was never intended to be a fame and shoot your subject through that frame, all will be revealed. Let's take a little look. In this first photograph, we can see a guy operating a sewing machine. Now, taking this photograph, you could wander into that room and just photograph the guy at the machine. But why not lower the camera down and then use the sewing machine as a frame? In doing that, your eyes are completely directed to his face. Now in an earlier module, we looked at rule of thirds where we avoided the center. But as you can see, if you frame something, it doesn't matter if it's in the center because your eyes are being drawn there by the frame. Let's take a look at some more examples then. In this shot, you can see it's a frame within a frame. We have the dog and then we have the horse and the young guy at the back. It is almost like two frames there. Now, it's clever shot. You have to see that. But on your photographic journey, as a say, you're going to get better and better and you will see things like this. This is next shot I captured in Liverpool, and it's of Liverpool Town Hall. I've used the end of this walkway to frame the building, and also all of the light coming through. Again, you're going to learn this later about viewpoints, but you can see the camera is at quite a low angle and it does make a difference. So yeah, walkways, in this way, corridors, there's plenty of things, trees, there's lots of things that make frames. In this shot, I used the window of a barber shop and I framed the guy having his hair cut. It's an easy thing to do. Maybe you could take your camera out around your city and get similar shots. Just be careful where you point your camera because some people are touchy, but generally, you can do a shot like that. You've got to be a bit inconspicuous when you're doing it. But windows, doorways make great frames. Here is a selection of shots that draw your eye to the subject matter all using framing. In this first shot, we can see that the underneath of the bridge is being used to frame the city off in distance. In the next shot, which absolutely you love, for the dogs, and the two dogs are being framed in the window of the caravan. That tells a little story, doesn't it? It really does raise the imagination that well, two dogs on holiday together and are having a good time. In the next shot, the young chap is being framed through the magnifying light. Next one, two young people framed through the silhouette of the cave. Now if you're going to take a shot like that, make sure you know the couple that you're photographing because you could get into a lot of trouble. This next one is a street shot in Liverpool. It's just a telephone box framed in another telephone box. Honestly, if you look, you will find a lot of framing opportunities. I really look forward to seeing what you can do. In this last shot, we've got a famous Liverpool building framed in the reflection of another famous Liverpool building. So as you can see, framing is amazing and it's so easy to do. I'm sure as you wander around with your camera, you'll see lots of things that you can use as a frame to frame your subject matter. Now, obviously, when you've done all the modules and you start the assignment, framing is part of the assignment. I'm really looking forward to seeing your results. But until then, I'll see you in the next module. 7. MODULE 6. Viewpoints: In this module, we're going to take a look at viewpoints. Now, as a photographer, it is our job to create something a bit different, isn't it? If you can imagine if we arrive at a location and we're standing upright and we can look about and that's what everyone else can see arriving in that location. But if we start changing the position of our camera and take it low or take it high or having it on an angle and find us a unique way to view that scene and photograph that scene, that's what creates a dramatic and atmospheric photograph. It's part of the fun of photography, isn't it, to shoot something that's being photographed many times before but to have your individual stamp on it. You can do that just by changing the angle and the position of your camera. We're going to jump in, take a look at some tips and some guides, and then we'll look at some examples and you'll know exactly what I mean then. Choosing a unique viewpoint will help create a much better photograph. A unique viewpoint will transport the viewer to the scene. This is very true. What we don't want to create is a tourist photograph; the standard shot that most people go. So we need to spend a bit of time and change our viewpoints and the way we see things. Before shooting, take your time to assess the best angle to shoot from. When you arrive at a location, that's what you would generally do. You would spend 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes, having a good look around and get your bearings and just use your eyes to see unique viewpoints, and that's what it's all about. Don't rush in, take your time. Remember that mental editing process while surveying the scene. What you leave out of your shot is just as important as what you include, and that's very true. It all goes back to, don't have your shot closer to a too much information. As always, don't over complicate your composition, and remember, keep it simple. I did say I'd mentioned that a few times, but honestly, it does make a difference. If you can keep your photographs uncluttered, it's so much easier for the viewer to understand what you're trying to project in your photographs. This first shot then is taken at a high level, and it was taken from the top of Liverpool Cathedral. If you're lucky enough to get into a position higher, you can create some fantastic photographs. Just be careful though. This one's had like a toy-town effect put on later. But don't worry about that, that's all about add-in. If you're lucky enough to get up a high level, you can get some really dramatic and atmospheric city shots. This next shot is the complete opposite. It's a really low shot. Now, this could be a father and daughter, father and son, boyfriend and girlfriend. I have absolutely no idea, but it's the lovely low angle. It doesn't really matter who is in that photograph. I enjoy looking at it. If it was your family members, what a unique way to photograph. It's a super, super-low angle, and big apertures used to blur the background. But the camera is almost on the floor to get that shot. We don't see the world like that. We don't arrive at locations and lie on our stomach straightaway. In doing things like that, that's how you can get unique viewpoints. Of course, don't forget to look up. When you're walking through the city, you can get some really dramatic shots of buildings as you point your camera up. Now don't walk and point your camera, that's a bit dangerous. Make sure you stop first. On a cloudy day, you're going to get lovely reflections of the clouds in the glass, and that always looks really great. Now this shot I captured at Anfield Stadium, which is Liverpool's football ground. Now, the stadium must have been photographed for tens and tens of thousands of times, so you have to think a bit differently. In this shot, I've gone across to the corner flag and I've used the fisheye lens, and it's just a unique way of looking at the football ground, and it's just something a bit different. In this shot, I actually feel as if I'm sitting on those rocks at that location. It's that good. It does break one of the rules of thirds in that the horizon is almost through the center of the photograph. But remember I said earlier that you can break the rules. You can break that rule of thirds if the photograph is good enough, and this one is a marvelous photograph, so it doesn't really matter. But that super-low camera position rarely works. Again, take your time, get the best positions, set your tripod up close to the edge of the water, and fire away. It looks great. The super-low camera position again. In this shot, I'm actually lying on my stomach, and it's captured at Lime Street station in Liverpool. It's just unique. It almost looks like a still from a movie, and that was the look I was going for. Stations and stuff like that, most things we see had been photographed thousands and thousands of times, so we have to think differently. Also, time of day. I made sure I was at the station an hour when I knew it was going to be empty basically. But then again, if there was people in that shot it could still look good. Then this shot of the Liver Building in Liverpool. What I've done is, and you will find this, I've employed a couple of techniques, because it also includes rule of thirds, where most of the information, in this case, is in the zone at the bottom. Look at the American spelling of the word donuts set against the very historic building, very British building in the central Liverpool. I like the two juxtaposed. I like the way they're against each other. What I've done is, I've left some color and some detail in the bottom of the donut van. There's some colors just left in there. Then the rest is black and white and atmospheric. Again, it's the viewpoints. It's holding my camera at an angle that chops off the bottom of the van and just includes the information that I want in the shot, and I think it works really well. Lastly, the shot that I captured in my local park and it's of the famous Palm House. What I did was I spent 10-15 minutes walking around the Palm House to try and get the angle that I liked. Again, I didn't just arrive there and point my camera and get a shot. You take your time. I must have walked around at a safe of about 10 or 15 minutes, and that was the shot I decided to get. I love the flow in that shot from left to right, to the rarely tall tree as it comes down. I love the way the tree is towering above the Palm House as well and the Palm House just nestled in amongst all the foliage. It's taking your time to get the shot like that. That's what viewpoint is all about, people want to see something a bit different so they have a viewpoints. Take your time, assess the situation when you arrive. Get the best viewpoint, the best angle to shoot from. Take your camera low, take your camera high, try all those things. You can also take your camera on what's called a Dutch angle, so you can turn it this way. Just be careful with horizons if there's a body of water. But try all those things. Again, when you completed all the modules, in the assignment, viewpoints will be in the assignment as part of the assignment. So I'll be really interested to see your unique angles that you come up with. I'll see you in the next module. 8. MODULE 7. Leading Lines: Leading lines are a great way to direct the viewer's eyes to your subject matter, and in some cases, you don't have any subject matter, they'll just guard the viewer's eyes through the image and let them use their imagination. So they are a great source of compositional aid. Let's jump in then, I'll show you some tips all about leading lines, and then we'll look at some examples. Leading lines gently guide the viewer to the subject matter. A winding road, for instance, that runs through the city, look for walkways, paths, bridges, riverbanks, etc. Anything that is going to run through your image that takes the viewer's eyes to the subject matter, and there's loads of things you can look for as I said, roadways, paths, riverbanks, freeways, and as said, position your subject matter at the end. However, in some cases, you can let the line run through the image to guide the viewer's eyes, and this will allow the viewer to use their imagination. They may be no subject matter at all, and I'll show you some examples of that and that can look really good as well because you're creating a bit of atmosphere of their mystique and as I said, you have to use your imagination and try and imagine what's at the end of the leading line. That's quite creative as well. Remember, always to keep it simple, and I know I do bang on about this, but it's important, keep your compositions simple. Let's take a look at some examples then. Now, as you can see, the town in this shot is in the center of the image, we've talked about this previously about rule of thirds and not put things in the center. But as I've mentioned before, we can do that as long as the viewer's eyes are being led there with another technique. In this case, it's leading line, isn't it? As you can see, the path will take the viewer's eye gently to the town. It's a unique way isn't? A photograph on something and just put in a little bit of creativity in there. It's a simple thing to do, look for paths, roads, walkways, freeways. Honestly, you'll see them, and then it's just as I said something different, isn't it? In this shot I captured of St. George's Hall in Liverpool, I've used the steps to guide your eyes to the building at the top. Again, I've used a nice low viewpoints in the shot as well. You can see that various sorts of techniques combined together to create one finished image, and you will find that throughout this course that each photograph has a bit of perhaps that technique mixed with that one. But that's what makes photography really exciting isn't? To mix all those together. In this shot, this one, you have to use your imagination because the actual leading line will take you right across the bridge and then out again. There's no subject matter as such, but it leaves you wondering where the bridge is going to take you. Again, it's all about creating the story, isn't it? Or a bit of atmosphere, and this photograph certainly does that. Bridges are not the great leading line. Here's another bridge, and you can see again the leading line sweeps round. It doesn't actually take you anywhere. Especially you could say, it takes you into the city, but you can imagine what the city's going to be like. Again, it's all about raising the levels of imagination. I love the jet trail as well. Going in the opposite curve that looks fantastic, doesn't it? Happy accident, but it looks really good, doesn't it? In this photograph of London, you could stand at the bullet side of this body of water and just photograph the cityscape. Or you could use the edge of the waterline, which is what happened in this photograph, and that will gently guide you to the city. Again, it's just something different, isn't it? It's a piece of creativity and I just love it. It's simple. Again, mentioned that word simple, but it is simple, and that leading line in this shot works fantastic. Now it doesn't have to be straight lines. This is my local park early in the morning, and as you can see, we have the leading line of the path that just takes you into the forest. Again, there's no subject matter as such, but the leading line is taking you on a journey, and it looks fabulous, doesn't it? Then we have this one, and again, there's no subject matter as such, but we have that lovely sweep and curve that takes you out into the lake. It's just a beautiful shot isn't it? It's so simple. That curve of that leading line works absolutely brilliant. Lastly, we've got this shot of the Liver Building in Liverpool, and I've used the stone seating area and the steps to guide you up to the building of the top. On the right-hand side, you've got Liver Building, and then on the left-hand side, we have the new Mersey ferry terminal. Again, it's using those elements to guide you up to the top. As you can see, leading lines are a great compositional aid, and I'm sure when you get out and about with your camera you'll start to notice leading lines, paths, bridges, walkways, riverbanks, all of that stuff. I said you can position your subject matter at the end and guide the viewer to the subject matter with that leading line or have no subject matter, and just guide them through the photograph and let them use their imagination. Now leading lines will be part of the assignment which you will get at the end of complete normal modules, and I look forward to seeing what leading lines that you come up with. I'll see you in the next module. 9. MODULE 8. Landscapes: To capture a good landscape photograph, there are certain photographic rules to follow as well as certain practical considerations. Let's look at both and some examples of some good landscape photography. A good landscape photograph should retain sharpness throughout the image with interest in foreground, middle, and background elements. When you shoot a landscape, that's what you aim for. Something in the foreground, something in the mid-range, and something often a distance because it tells a story and the viewer can follow the path if your like, and read that story. Now you don't always have to do that, but it's just a good little tip for you really. Good interesting foreground, good interesting middle, and something off in the distance. A tripod is essential due to the small apertures needed to retain sharpness. Now, this is true, because to retain that sharpness throughout the image, you're going to be used in a particularly small aperture size. Now of course, as you know, if you use a small aperture size, your shutter is going to stay open slightly longer. This can introduce camera shake. This is where we need a really good, substantial tripod. You can get a cheaper tripod and weigh it down with a hook on the center column. But yeah, you need to put your camera on a tripod, and also use a remote control as well, because you don't want to touch your camera. Trust me, you will be using shutter speeds that are too slow to even touch your camera. These are the things you've got to think of. The best time to capture landscapes is during the golden hour, the first hour of daylight, and the last hour before sundown. Ideally, you want to be visiting the location where you're going to capture your landscape during the golden hour. As I say, that the first hour of sunrise and the last hour before the sun goes down. Trust me, it's got nothing to do with getting a sunset. That's a different thing. It's all about that golden hour because the two times I just mentioned, when the sun comes up and when it's going down, that is when you're going to find the best light. Honestly, it looks fantastic in landscape photographs. If you go midday when the sun's high in the sky, and it's really bright and sunny, you're not going to get a good result as if you go in the golden hour. Keep a watch on weather conditions before visiting your chosen location. You may need to visit the location a number of times to get the perfect shot. Again, this is true. You have to keep an eye on the weather. Nothing worse than traveling to a location, and you've planned it and you're really excited about going, and then when you get there, it's pouring down with rain, and you can't set up anywhere. You do have to keep an eye on the weather. Also, this is true too. You can go to a location, capture some shots, return home, and perhaps you're not happy with them. Perhaps you think maybe if I just shot from this particular location or this angle, it would have been better. Landscape photographers tend to go back to the same location on a number of occasions just to make sure they've captured the perfect shot. Of course, keep it simple. Now, I keep banging on about keeping it simple, but trust me, it will help you. Let's jump in and take a look at some examples. This first shot was captured on the [inaudible] in Liverpool. As you can see, I've shot just as the sun is going down. Remember the rule of thirds. I think the shot actually appeared in rule of thirds earlier on. I've kept all the information in that bottom third, I kept the sky looking majestic. It's all about the light in that shot, and you'll get there if you visit the place during the golden hour. This next shot has interest in foreground, middle, and background. Let's just take a look at that. Then we have this piece of driftwood on the beach, we have this rock in the mid-range area. Then we have these rocks off into the distance. You've got a journey, takes you on a journey, doesn't it? Through the photograph. Also with this shot, you can see the importance of using a small aperture because it retains that sharpness all the way through. Right from the foreground through to the back of the image, it's all perfectly sharp and it looks great, doesn't it? Now, the other thing is an ND filter is being used to capture this shot. What an ND filter does is, it tricks the camera into thinking it's a little bit darker than what it actually is. This allows you to leave your shutter open a lot longer in daylight. Obviously, if you leave your shutter open too long in daylight, you'll get an overexposed shot. But putting the correct ND filter on will allow, because as I said, tricks the camera into thinking it's darker, and it allows you to leave the shutter open longer. When you do this, you're going to get movement in the water and that can look fantastic. I'm sure you've seen landscape photographs where the water looks almost misty, and that's just the energy of the water, it hits the rocks and stuff like that. It doesn't generate a mist, what happens is because the shutter open that long, it's generating a blurry mess, if you like. But that blurry mess looks like mist. I hope that explains it well. But yeah. That is beyond the scope of this tutorial. But if you fancy doing stuff like that, then get yourself a set of ND filters or a variable ND filter. Then it's a little bit of mathematics to work out. But again, as I say, beyond the scope of this tutorial. But yeah, ND filters could be another thing to put in your camera bag when you're shooting landscapes. This shot's great, isn't it? That mid-range detail where we have the little jetty, and then we have the mountains off into the distance. This one features something from earlier on, which is the leading line, and the leading line is taking you up to the edge of the jetty and the edge of the lake. If you remember back to leading lines earlier, paths, walkways, and stuff like that. This one has one, and it takes you to the edge of the lake, and it looks really nice, isn't it? It's a nice position to shoot from. Of course, don't forget your local areas. This was captured in my local park. Again, it's a nice low camera position. I've used the ND filter that I mentioned earlier on. It's actually allowed the water to have a bit of movement hasn't it? That slower shutter has captured the movements of the water. The other thing about the slower shutter and the use of the ND filter is, it's taken all the energy out of the water, and it looks like a sheet of glass, doesn't it? With a reflection. That's another great use of the ND filter. Anatomying a human form in your photographs gives it a sense of scale. If you can manage to achieve that, and get somebody in your image. It just shows the size of nature, doesn't it? How big the world is. Yeah, definitely trying to include a person in your photograph. I love this shot because it's got layers, hasn't it? The light in it's fantastic as well, all about the golden hour again. As you can see, there are certain considerations with landscape photography. Based on the time of day you go, doing your research, and knowing that you may have to go back to the same location a number of times. Then of course, to the equipment side of things. You need a good tripod. You might need ND filters and a remote control to fire your camera, and warm clouds because you could be sitting there for some time. My friend is a brilliant landscape photographer, and he's come second twice in the National Geographic competitions. But he has a camper van, and he will travel to the location and sleep overnight and he's up at five o'clock in the morning to get the shots in the golden hour. Now, that shows commitment, doesn't it? I'm more of a total street style and portrait photographer. But if landscapes is your thing, that's what you need to do. You need to be dedicated, and put in the effort, and the results will come, trust me. I'll see you in the next module. 10. MODULE 9. Line: In this module, we're going to take a look at line. It's strong line that you can find in your environment. It can be in architecture and it can be in nature. Let's jump in and look at some tips and techniques and then we'll look at some examples. Capturing line in the environment creates a sharp graphical composition very modern and contemporary. Straight lines can be found in architecture and nature. We're going to look at some examples of both. There's loads of sharp lines and angles that you can find in architecture around your city. We can also find in nature if you go to the right places and keep your eyes open. Try shooting up at buildings that have a defined hard edge and keep a lookout for interesting shapes. Consider change in the angle of your camera, think Dutch angle. Well a Dutch angle is just when you turn your camera on an angle and that will really make a building look completely different and that's what we're looking for, something contemporary, something sharp and so in doing that, it really just help create that look. Yes of course, you guessed it, keep it simple as always. So let's jump in then and take a look at some photographic examples of line in your environment. In this first shot, we have the edge of a building and it's got that lovely sharp edge running diagonally in the shot. To create this, obviously, we go back to our old friend, the Dutch angle. Just try putting your camera up at the edge of a building, an interesting building and this one clearly has that lovely line and plenty of other lines as well with the texture of the building. It's great, isn't it? It's a strong compositional, simple image that's very classic. It might not be to your taste, but it's a very modern look and especially in black and white. It looks wonderful, doesn't it? As I say, you can find hard edges, hard lines in nature if you look, and this is an amazing shot of the edge of the river bank and it's a complete straight line, vertical, it's amazing and your job as a photographer is to seek out photographic opportunities like this. Keep your eyes open and it's a wonderful shot, isn't it? It's a hard edge, it's a line, and it's found in nature. Best of luck trying to find something as good as that because that is amazing, isn't it? But it is out there, you just have to look. Of course, point you camera upwards. There are plenty of tall buildings around and in your city, hopefully, you have the same thing. As I say, point your camera upwards, you will find those hard lines, those hard edges. Creates a really contemporary look, doesn't it? Now be careful when you point your camera up at the sky if it's a really sunny day, you'll get lens flown problems. A nice blue sky is good and also, in this case, it's an overcast sky, isn't it? It works great in monochrome. So just have a little practice, point your camera upwards, and find some really nice architecture. This one I shot in Liverpool, has the hard lines, the hard edges from these advertising boards. It's very personal to me, this shot. It's classic Liverpool 1963. It tells a little story for me about me growing up in Liverpool. Liverpool, big city for car making and for football and it's included in these advertising posters. But it has the hard edges that lead you off into the distance towards the river. Yeah, it's got line exactly what I was looking for. This shot is amazing. This is the side of a building in Liverpool and the pieces of glass that are common from the building, they're just architectural features, they don't serve any purpose, they just look nice. During a compositional trip with a bunch of students, I pointed out this building and we were all photographing it. I noticed that a student had wandered over and she'd stood at the bottom of the building and she had her feet virtually touching the edge of the building, as she looked up with her camera, and this is the image that she produced and it's absolutely amazing. It's just brilliant, isn't it? So the top half of the images is the actual sky and the bottom half is the reflection in the glass and it has all those lovely hard edges. If I didn't know that building in Liverpool, I wouldn't know what it was or where it was. It's just a great piece of contemporary photography. If you go back to the original shot of the building, you can see those individual panes of glass the way they are protruding from the building. Then again, taking a look at her shot, that's what she captured. I'd like to think I could take some credit for that, because I did point out the building to her. But it just shows you that when somebody starts teaching you about composition, it will start to unlock doors in your mind and your creativity will start flowing, and it certainly did with this young lady who captured this shot. Have a go at shooting line in architecture, in the city and also in nature, and obviously when you've completed all the modules, and hopefully you start the assignment, line will be part of the assignment. Again, it'd be great to see what you come up with. That's line. I'll see you in the next module. 11. MODULE 10. Symmetry: Symmetrical photographs can look great. Now, it's not always easy to find symmetry, but you will find it in architecture, you'll find it in nature as well, and it creates a really unusual photograph and, of course, perfectly balanced because that's what symmetry gives us, doesn't it? Let's jump in and look at some tips and techniques, and then we'll take a look at some examples. Symmetrical elements help us to create the perfect balance. Symmetry can be tricky to find, but it's worth it as it creates an amazing image. Now it does, and as I said, in your environment, keep a lookout for anything that's symmetrical. I'm going to give you some really good tips of how to find it because it is there. It can be found in man-made elements and within nature, and of course, reflections help to produce a symmetrical balance. So look for reflections in water, glass, and reflective surfaces and, of course, keep it simple. Let's jump in and look at some photographic examples of symmetry. In this first shot, we have a church in Iceland, very famous landmark in Iceland, and it's fabulous, isn't it? It's been built to be symmetrical, but that doesn't matter, it's still a symmetrical photograph. We have those equal two halves either side. Two halves make that perfect whole and it looks fabulous, doesn't it. Of course, that's an easy one to find because it was built to be symmetrical. Let's take a look at a few more of them. As I said, nature can provide some fantastic pieces of symmetry in reflections. This one's great. It's perfectly symmetrical down the center. It's also almost symmetrical the other way, horizontally as well as vertically. So in nature, look for those reflections, especially in, as I say, rivers and stuff like that and bodies of water. Of course, look for the unusual as well. This is an escalator, and who would have thought that an escalator would make such a great shot, and the colors in the shot are fabulous. It's unusual. Be careful when you're taking shots like these, obviously you don't knock someone off the escalator, but it's unusual. Always, as a photographer, keep an eye out for the unusual. I think in man-made items, you will see symmetry quite a lot, especially in good architecture. Of course, we have the reflections in glass, in windows, and this is a very famous building in Liverpool. You may have seen it a few times now throughout this course, but this is the Liver Building in Liverpool, and it's being reflected into the window of a hotel opposite. It looks great. It's not true symmetry as such, but it's good enough for me, and this will be part of your assignment symmetry. If you upload a photograph that looks like this, where you've used a window to create that symmetry, then that's fine. Again, the same building, but using a different window to get that symmetrical look. Again, it's not true symmetry, but I think that reflection works perfect. As I said, if you upload a photograph that looks like this, I'll be very pleased. Lastly, we have puddles and bodies of water. In this case, it's a huge puddle in Madrid. This is in the center of Madrid, and the puddle was created, they were actually using a hose pipe to clean the pavement, and it left this huge puddle, and it looks amazing. I shot it at night just as the sun was going down. We have that lone figure walking past the building, which is also reflected in the water, and it looks great. So don't forget about reflections in water and puddles. Just to recap, you have perfect symmetry found in architecture. You will have reflections in windows and also reflections in bodies of water, in nature out in the countryside, or as I said, in cities, always look down to see. If it's been raining, look down and look at the puddles, and honestly you'll get absolutely beautiful reflections. Sometimes it might not be symmetrical. You might just want to photograph the reflection in the puddle, but that can look absolutely brilliant and so unusual. That is symmetry. As I said, later on, when you finish all the modules and you undertake the assignment, then symmetry is part of the assignment, and as I said, I'd love to see your results. Until then, I'll see you in the next module. 12. MODULE 11. Vanishing Points: Vanishing points are great in photography, and they are converging lines that take you on a journey through the photograph, and it really does help to engage the imagination. Because where those lines converge, we have no idea what happens after that point. They're always very intriguing photographs. You can find vanishing points all over the place if you look. Let's jump in. We'll look at some techniques, and some tips. As always, we'll look at some examples, so here we go. Vanishing points are converging lines that meet and then disappear. They lead our eyes to the point of intersection and beyond. It stimulates the imagination that a good vanishing point shot will have you intrigued as to what is at the end of those converging lines. As they vanish, they engage the imagination creating a possible journey. Will it certainly do that? Man has to say when we look at some examples, it will take you on a journey through the photograph and beyond. Look for roads, pathways, tunnels, corridors, underground stations, etc. As always simplicity is king, but you knew that, didn't you? Let's jump in and look at some examples of vanishing points. This first shot is the classic road shots, isn't it? You can see all the points leads to that intersection in the center. Now, if we think back to the rule of thirds, like I've mentioned earlier, I said avoid the center. But as you can see, if your eyes are being led there, and in this case, with those converging lines, that it's fine to do that. The photograph looks great, doesn't it? Now obviously, if you're going to stand on the road to get a shot like this, be very, very careful. You don't want to get run over when you're doing it. Trust me because I know, because I actually got run over when I was doing it, but that's another story. This is a fabulous shot captured in an underground station or a tube station. It's simple, isn't it? It's just simple composition. But those vanishing point lines take you on that journey. Of course with it being a tube station or an underground station you know that, if you walk towards where those converging lines are, you would be going on a journey somewhere. That's why I think vanishing points take you on that journey. This next photograph I captured in the Mersey tunnel. It's a tunnel that runs between Liverpool and the Wirral. Don't worry, the tunnel was closed that day specifically so I could go in and photograph it, and I'm lying on my stomach here. This one, it's got an element that we discovered earlier on, which is viewpoints. Lying on my stomach created this really unique look. It has vanishing points and a place where all the lines converge. But it also features the viewpoint, doesn't it have lovely low viewpoints in that shot? So something for you to bear in mind. I have mentioned this earlier, that we often combine different techniques to create one finished photograph, and I certainly did in this shot. Just to show you really that the converging lines don't have to meet in the center, in this case, they are all off to the left hand side. But that's okay, vanishing points, where those points intersect. They can be anywhere in the photograph, so don't worry about that. You don't have to follow any specific rule on that. Just as long as you find those converging lines, and they take you somewhere, and in this case, it's the left-hand side of the photograph. Again, it's another journey, isn't it? It's a train journey from Liverpool, and that looks wonderful, doesn't it? This shot was captured from a bridge over a freeway or a motor way. It's a simple one to do. Just be very careful when you come up, always have it on a strap around your neck, should you want to drop it off the bridge. Both of them, a simple one to do. Again, it's another journey, isn't it? I think you can see the theme that is running through these photographs. That converging lines definitely take you on a journey. In this case, it's often to the distances not along this road. Back to underground stations and tube stations. They make wonderful vanishing point shots. This one you could almost say is symmetrical as well. We know we covered symmetry earlier on. But this is almost, this could have been in the symmetry section. But, I've put it into the vanishing point section because for me it's another journey, isn't it? I love the fact that both trains are running at the same time, so to give you that arriving and leaving at the same time. It's just creativity, isn't it? It raises the imagination. The beautiful shot taken [inaudible] near the light trails from the backs of cars, and that looks fantastic, doesn't it? This one's got a little bit of lightening right down the far end. But it is certainly a vanishing point shot. Also, it's rule of thirds, isn't it? Because all the information is in the bottom of the photograph. But it's a lovely shot. Again, just be careful when you take shots like that because you're by traffic. Another lovely shot taken a little bit safer this long because it's on the center part, the central reservation, as we call it in the UK. It's just so many converging lines, isn't it? The road markings, the lights above, and the buildings on the left and right-hand side, all converging in the same place right in the center. It's a wonderful shot, isn't it? As I said, raises your imagination and makes you wonder what is actually happening there, and certainly what's happening at the end of those converging lines. Vanishing points are great, aren't they? They really do take you on a journey, and you do have to wonder what is beyond those converging lines. It creates atmosphere, and a bit of misty, and that's what photography is all about, isn't it? Just raising those emotions. Now again, in the assignments that I hope you complete at the end of this course, it will feature vanishing points, and I look to see what you come up with. I'll see you in a bit later on. 13. MODULE 12. Curves and Shapes: Let's take a look at curves and shapes. Now curves and shapes make great subject matter and they can be found everywhere. Can be in engineering, in architecture, in nature, in household items. They're all around us. If we hone in on a specific part of a building or a structure, or even an object, we can find some really great shapes. As I said they make really great subject matter. As always, we'll look at some tips, and then we'll look at some photographic examples. Curves and shapes make bold and interesting compositions that can be found in architecture, man-made items, and nature. Look for winding roads, staircases, historic and modern buildings, plants, flowers, sweeping fields of farmland, and the countryside. That pretty much covers everything, doesn't it? You will find shapes everywhere. You'll find shapes in your home, even as I said in household items. As I said, they make really, really good photographs and quite unusual if you kind of zone in and just select the part of that subject. It could be a huge building. You hone in and just get parts of a building. It can look really interesting. I said we're going to look at some examples and I'll show you exactly what we mean. Motorways and freeways make a dramatic statement too, as well as man-made items from cars to kitchen accessories. I just said that, haven't I? Anyway, let's jump in and take a look at some examples. I captured the shot at St. George's Hall at very, very historic sweep and staircase. You can see the lovely curve. If you're lucky enough to find spiral staircases, they make absolutely great subject matter. Look up or look down, and you'll get all those lovely curves. Of course, in this shot, we've got the angular shape as well. This shot is a grain shoot at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. What I've done is I spotted the grain shoots and it'll lovely spiral and to make it more interesting, I've actually turned the shot through 90 degrees. We've got those lovely spirals. As I said, just to make things a bit different, I've turned the shot through 90 degrees. Now you can do that as you're actually taking the shot. But in this case, I did it in software that just simply rotated it. Very easy to do. It's quite unusual, isn't it? Lovely monochrome image. This is a Volkswagen Beetle. As I said earlier, if you hone in on the details, just pick a small section of your subject. You really cancel or emphasize those curves and this looks fab, doesn't it? Bright yellow and you have all those lovely sweeping curves. It's just a different way of photographing things, isn't it? You don't have to photograph the whole item, the whole building, whole subject matter just hone in on a specific part and it can look fantastic. Of course, like I said, we can find lots of shapes in nature. We have the lovely shape of this leaf and the little inclusion of the little bug. The colors are fantastic in that shot, aren't they? Like I said, you will find lots and lots of shapes in nature and just hone in on a specific part. Remember the mantra, keep it simple and honesty you'll get some great stuff. Again, a piece of architecture. This is the Radisson Blu Hotel in Liverpool. That is the lift shaft and the reception area. It looks absolutely brilliant, doesn't it? Going back to viewpoints earlier, point your camera, of course you never know what you're going to see. The architecture in this building is stunning and I love all those sweeping curves. That is every level of the hotel. Every floor level, and you can see each level has its own curve and shape. Of course, we have angular shapes found in architecture and engineering. Angular shapes can look really dramatic. Keep an eye out for them too. Remember, as I said, to hone in this shot on the right, it's highly detailed, isn't it? I love the inclusion of the human form again, just to show you how grand that structure is. On the one on the left, we've got the sweep and top curve, but then we have the angular steps at the base. It's a combination of the two, isn't it? In this shop. We have the magnificent St. George's Hall again. You can see it's a massive bold sweeping curve. However, if you get in close enough, you can get shots like this. So just hone in on bits of architecture and just photograph those sweeping curves. It's an unusual photograph, isn't it? As I said, you don't have to photograph the whole building you can just pick sections of it and get the either angular shapes or the curved shapes. This motorway or freeways makes a fantastic shot, doesn't it? With a lovely sweeping curve, obviously a slow shot is being used to capture the light trails as the cars move in and out. But it looks wonderful, doesn't it? A simple shot like that. It's just a road, isn't it? Just a bridge, a freeway or a motorway, but it looks wonderful, isn't it? With that lovely sweeping curve. As you can see, shapes and curves make fantastic subject matter and you can hone in, get closer and just photograph just parts of a structure to either get the angular shapes, or the curves. As I said, they can look wonderful. Of course, at the end of all modules, curves and shapes will be featured in the assignment. I look forward to seeing what you produce. I'll see you in the next module. 14. MODULE 13. Pattern: Pattern is a really interesting subject matter to photograph. Now I don't mean the pattern that we find in items like this because this was intended to be a pattern. We are looking for things that were never intended to be in pattern and we make a pattern from it. We can find it in architecture, in nature, in household items, you name it, there's pattern everywhere, you just have to look. Of course, if you hone in and zone in on something that has got a definite pattern, it can make a really intriguing photograph because in some cases, it leaves the viewer guessing as to what it actually is. Let's jump in, look at some tips and tricks, and as always, look at some photographic examples. Pattern is creating images using a repeating pattern found in your environment. Use your imagination to find something unusual. Pattern can be found on a grand scale or in the smallest of objects. They are all around you and should contain repeating shapes. Now, we do want repeating shapes, but they don't have to be uniform. For instance, the side of a building with many windows and it's uniform repeating pattern in that case, or non-repeating, it just shapes that creates a pattern would be the leaves falling from the trees and landing in the forest. A photograph that would cause be abstract. It's still be shaped, it still be a pattern, but it wouldn't be uniform. Either is really good. You can find pattern in man-made elements and within nature. Using pattern delivers a well-balanced photograph and in some cases keeps the viewer guessing. Well, I did mentioned that earlier, if you find something unusual, it really will leave the viewer guessing as to what the actual shot is. Let's jump in and take a look at some photographic examples. In this first one, have you guessed what it is yet? It is a cheese grater. Of course, the photograph zoned in on a particular section and created this pattern. It's unusual, isn't it? In your home, you will find items that have a pattern. In this case, it was a cheese grater. Just zone in and select certain part of that object and create something really unusual. This is a pane of glass with condensation, and we have all those little bubbles of water. It creates an amazing pattern. As I say, the whole theme of this is photographing things that were never meant to be a pattern. Of course, this was never intended to be a pattern. Just those, all globules of water have created this amazing pattern. It makes a great photograph, doesn't it? Nature gives us plenty of opportunities to photograph pattern. That's all around you in the forest and in the countryside. Point your camera down at the foliage in leaves and you will find that pattern exists and it looks marvelous in your photographs. This shot's really nice and colorful, isn't it? Or you could go for the monochrome look. This looks brilliant. I love both color and monochrome, which is never mentioned that before but felt I need to mention it then. But I do love both and they both have the place. In nature generally, I like to keep things in color, but this particular shot looks wonderful, doesn't it? In black and white. It's up to you, always use in color and then convert later on. A vibrant blue fishing net. Who'd have thought. If you just hone in, zoom in on a particular part of that fishing net, it will create this really unusual photograph. It's abstract. But it looks great, doesn't it? It's pleasing to look at. It's just an intricate maze of nylon mesh that is found in fishing net. But I think it looks wonderful, colors again. That would actually look good in black and white, I think. But color in this case looks fantastic. A series of umbrellas overhead in Liverpool City center. It looks great, doesn't it? It's just, again, look up, keep your eyes open, you never know what you're going to find. This is an art installation in Liverpool City center. But I have seen this thing in other cities as well. But it doesn't have to be umbrellas, obviously, I don't expect you to go out with a bunch of umbrellas and hang them up to get a photograph. It's just highlighting to you that if you keep your eyes open, you will find pattern all around you in the most unusual of places. I think this umbrella shot looks fab, doesn't it? A row of seats in a theater or a stadium. I love this shot. Absolutely love this pattern. It's got a leading line as well as in here snaking through and it's got curve. It's got a few elements and I have said this number of times that you will find different techniques merged together to create one final image. Now I love font and I love text. I love the little numbers on the backs of each seat and the little dots that sneak off into the distance. It's a brilliant shot and it's got a Dutch angle as well and it's been turned on an angle to get that source of different view. Who would have thought the backs of seats in the theater could look so good. Back to architecture. I love this shot, I absolutely love it. I guess you could say the architect meant it to be a pattern in the way the windows are laid out. But it doesn't matter because shot like this, it's created a pattern. The building was intended to be functional obviously with windows, but photographically, it created a pattern, and it's a repeating shape pattern. It looks great, doesn't it? Really do like that shot. Very simple, and I'm sure in your city, you will have buildings that have repeat shapes. Point your camera up and honesty you'll get something really unusual. As you can see, pattern is all around you. It's in the countryside, it's in the city, it's in your home. All you need to do, keep your eyes open, zone in and create a shot that has a definite set of repeating shapes. It can be abstract shapes that are non-uniform, or it can be a uniform repeating pattern, it doesn't matter. As always, when you come to complete the assignment, pattern will be included. I again, will look forward to seeing the shots that you create that include pattern. But until then, I'll see you in the next module. 15. MODULE 14. Staged and Props: Creating staged photographs can be a lot of fun and it just simply involves you adding something to your photograph, something personal. Now, I like to add robots into my photographs, and you'll see this guy pop up later on in one of the example photographs. Let's jump in and look at some tips and techniques, and then I'll show you some photographic examples. We see staged shots every day in advertising online and in print. Props and staged shot creates unusual compositions. Use your imagination and you can produce a really surreal image. Any items that you have, it could be anything from a Barbie doll, to a teddy bear, to a watch. Honestly, you add something in your shot that shouldn't be there, it's a very personal shot then and it's very unique because obviously no one else is creating a shot that similar. Any object can be used in your composition. Take items to your chosen location or use items found at the location. Simply make a statement or tell a story in your composition. That's what it's all about. Just as I say, you might arrive at your location and find something there to include in the shot, that's fine or you can take props with you and just simply add them to your shot. Let's jump in then and look at some photographic examples. This first shot is great, isn't it? It's just three small cameras and such a clever idea, isn't it? It's maybe something that you could try. You could do the same thing, couldn't you, with three mobile phones. If you had a bunch of friends and obviously you all have a mobile phone, take a photograph of two eyes and a mouth and then put it into this shot and it looks great, doesn't it? You can see in that shot there's different generations of hands, can you? An older hand holding the bottom camera. It's a fun little shot, isn't it, To do, so try that one just for starters. This shot's really clever, isn't it? You just have to use your imagination. Take a bunch of colored pencils, add a pencil sharpener, and create this effect. It's obviously meant to look like a zip, isn't it? But it's so clever, so simple, something that you can do indoors as well. As you can see, props can be a lot of fun, can they? You can create something completely unique. I did say, I would include my robots. Here's two shots that I captured, and again, using the live building in the background, my favorite building. You can see, it's an advertisement I used to promote my classes in Liverpool. The shot on the left you can see how many robots I had. I had about 22 robots and I set them up in front of the building. I did get some funny looks when I was doing it, but it was a bit of fun. It's a nice fun shot, isn't it? I've added a little strap line. Release your inner creativity and master the universe. That was my little strap line to promote the courses. But as you can see, props are additive photographs generally in advertising, but as you've seen previous photographs, you also do it for a bit of fun and to create something unique. This is just a selection of Amazon boxes. How many boxes do we get delivered everyday from Amazon? Just to put them together and create that little Amazon box man walking down the street. It's unique, isn't it? You can see in this shot, all the techniques are being used again with the low viewpoint, the camera in a really low position. It's just a fun shot, isn't it? It's very, very unique. This is a shot I took for a ceramic's company and they gave me a ceramic gingerbread man and asked me to do something different with it. I took it into my local park and I am laying on my stomach there. I just positioned the gingerbread man. He's pointing into the forest. It's great, isn't it? I could have just photographed that gingerbread man in my studio but it's so much more fun to take it out and use it as a prop in the environment. It's a much more interesting photograph, isn't it? This shot's very clever, isn't it? It sends a message straight away. It is the end of the summer, isn't it? It's the discarded sunglasses thrown unto the beach. It's lovely and it's got so many elements that we've already covered. Rule of thirds with the lovely high horizon level, viewpoints with the low camera position and in this case, props as well. I'm sure the photographer who captured this shot would have taken those sunglasses and put them in position to capture this really great shot. Easy to do, isn't it? I'm sure you'll think of loads of ideas. They do make really fun and unique shots. In this landscape photograph, the branches are being placed into the water to act as a feature, to act as that foreground detail. If you think back to the landscape module, we have an interest in foreground, middle, and background. In this case maybe there wasn't any interesting foreground, so why not just find something in your surroundings and add it at the front of your shot. You don't always have to take props with you. You will find them when you arrive at your location. This one's great isn't it? It's a spoon on top of a fork with some corrugated sheet behind. It's created a really, really unique photograph, hasn't it? You can play around with props, honesty, and create some amazing shots. They're all unique to your imagination and that's the real fun of it. This one is really fun, isn't it? It's a spoon, two forks, and a pea. How easy is that? But it's the imagination, isn't it? This is the thing about props like I say, you have to use your imagination. I know I've used this photograph several times in my composition class and it always gets a laugh. People often replicate that shot for greeting cards or dinner invitations. It's just a bit of fun, isn't it? As you can see, props made really unique photographs. It's easy to do, isn't it? I'm sure in your home, you will have a bunch of items that are personal to you. Pop them into your photographs in a location, take them with you and honesty, you'll create something that no one else has created and as I say, it will be unique to you. Now, when you've completed all the modules, as always, in the assignment at the end, there will be a section on props. For me, this might be the most exciting module because it will be really, really interesting to see what items you take on a location and what shots that you upload. But until then, I'll see you in the next module. 16. MODULE 15. Portraits: In this module, we're going to take a look at portrayed photography. Now, I love shooting portraits, but there's a certain set of skills that you need, as well as considerations to be made about equipment. Now, ideally, we would always use a portraits in natural light, but we can't control natural light, so we tend to use off-camera flash, like this guy. So I will place this inside a soft box or an umbrella, just to diffuse the light and make it really soft, but more on that later. Let's jump in and look at some techniques and tips, and as always, some photographic examples. Use natural light when possible and never your camera's built-in flash. Now, if you use your pop-up flash on your camera, it's like shining a torch in someone's face and it's not very flattering. When you think about it, the light comes from above down, and it comes from the sun, and that's what we want to do. Two ways of doing that obviously, is to use natural lights. You can use the outdoors or you can position your model, or your sitter close to a window. The second way obviously is to use our old friend off-camera flash because we can place that at a high level inside soft box or an umbrella. There are your two choices where natural light is great, honestly. Shoot outdoors like a sale Bybi window. Bought generally, most portray photography, you'll find will have off-camera flash. Always focus on the subjects eyes and remember the rule of thirds. Well, all of my cameras have built-in eye detection. Once I point the camera at my subject, the camera will automatically focus on the eyes. Now, if your camera doesn't have that, don't worry. Just simply move the focus point to the eye, because when we look at a portrait, that's what we look at. We look at the person's eyes. That has to be sharply focused. Make sure your subject is comfortable and give them encouragement. Well, when you photograph a model, there're professional. They are always comfortable in front of the camera, but a non-model tends to be a little bit awkward in front of the camera. You need to make them feel comfortable. They can sit down, for instance or lean against a wall, give them something in their hands to hold, which would stop their arms dangling around and look uncomfortable or awkward. Just little tips like that. Honestly, it does help if your sit up, your subject is, comfortable and then give them encouragement. Tell them they look great, tell them, "Wow this, photograph is fantastic," even if it isn't, because it will give them the confidence and that will come across in the photograph. Ask your sitter to make slight body adjustments, ie, angle of head. Don't forget, you can change your position to achieve alternative angles. If you just ask your sit up, your subject, to just change the slight position of their head, it can be an honestly, just the slightest position makes a massive difference. Also, don't forget you can walk around them. If you walk around them, they would have to turn their head to follow the camera. Again, it's just a simple way of getting a different camera angle. If possible, invest in off-camera flash with soft diffusion. Now, that's up to you. If you want to pursue a career as a portrait photographer, you will need to invest in extra equipment. As I say, if you get these guys, I can control this from my camera with a radio sender and its got a radio receiver built-in. They're very inexpensive. Diffusion ie, umbrellas and soft boxes, they're quite cheap too. It's up to you if you want to go down that route. Obviously, there's more expensive equipment to buy, but if you say this is a portrait photographer, you will need to spend a little bit money, backdrops for instance. It's where there honestly. Once you've bought it, once you own it, you've got it then and away you go. Shoot at a focal length of at least 50 mil, 80 mill upwards if possible, as longer focal lens are more flattering for faces. Well, if you tried to photograph a portrait at 18 millimeters, it's much too wide and it's very unflattering for a face and it'll distort the face. When you think about, our eyes see around about 50 millimeter. That's a good place to start. Anything above 50 millimeter is fine. If you have an 18-55 lens, shoot at 55. If you've got all the lens, an 18 mil lens or a 100 mil lens, then shoot there because that's regarded as probably the best focal range for portraits. Let's jump in and take a look at some photographic examples. In this first shot of Sophie, I can see it's a straight arm portrays. I've used very soft lighting and I can see that I've got a light above and a light below. Now, how do I know that? Well, I look at the catch lights in the eyes and I can see there's a big light at the bottom of eye, and a softer light at the top. That's called a clamshell lighting technique, which brings me to my next tip. If you read a magazine and you see a photograph that you like, cut out the magazine and put it into a scrapbook. Then you have ideas of different poses and different shots that you like, but also you'll be able to look at the catch lights in the eyes and see where the lights were set up. Or perhaps you might just see a big window reflection in the eye. Also look for shadows in the face as well, because you can see the direction of where the light was coming from. It's a good little tip. You'll have a scrapbook, full of ideas, and also catch lights and shadows, which will help you with lighting techniques. Now, for ladies, we use soft diffusion. This photograph of Sophie is really softly diffused. That's what we tend to do for women. It's just more flattering. That's what I've done here. Whereas in this shot, it's a much harsher light and that's what we do for men. We tend to make it a bit more harsh and a bit more edgy, and it really works in the shot, doesn't it? Of Brian. I've got close in as well with that shot. It's almost got a bit of a Rembrandt lighting. Rembrandt lighting produces a triangle on the darker side of the face. You can see on this left-hand side of the image, it's nice and bright and on the right-hand side of the image, it's darker, but has this little triangle of light on his eyes, and that's called Rembrandt. Now, just a bit useless information. But that's what that's called. It's a harsh light anyway and it works really well for men. That's what we tend to do for male portraits. Now, in this shot of Fenn, we've gone outdoors and used natural light. Now, Fenn is not a model, so she is leaning against a brick wall and she looks really comfortable, doesn't she? Also, I've used a big aperture. That's a big tip for when shooting outdoors. Is use a big aperture and blur the backgrounds, because in a portrait, we don't want any background detail at all, it's all about the model or the subject matter more than the sitter. We tend to blur the background with a big aperture. Now, again, in this shot of Sophie, I've asked her to sit down. She looks comfortable, doesn't she? That's what that shot is all about. Just to show you get somebody sitting down, it just puts them at ease. Especially if they lean, just rest their head on the hand, that helps as well. Sophie is a model, so she knows what to do. Now, you might be thinking, what is the green background? I've just got one of these lights, and I put a color Jelani and that shined against the background. What we find is that teal colors work really well, against skin colors. That's the only reason have done that. That's another little tip for you, rarely backgrounds, but we're going to look at backgrounds a little bit later. But backgrounds and background colors are quite important too. In the shot of Rachel, I've asked her to lay down. In my studio, I've got some sofa cushions. Rachel's head is against the sofa cushion, which is complementary to her skin. It's very easy shot to do. I've mentioned about getting your sitter or your model relaxed, but there's no better way to do that, but to get them to lay down I guess. But this is a very feminine shot, isn't it? It works really well, let's just say the [inaudible] color of the cushions against the skin color. Again, you can see the catch lights in Rachel's eyes. You can see the direction of light and you can see the shadow from the nose. The light's obviously come up from the left-hand side. I used an umbrella to get that shot. You can see just keeping an eye on where catch lights and shadows, really helps you to figure out how you would take a portrait, and how you would like to. In this shot of Sophie, I have walked around her, like I mentioned earlier. If you walk around your subject, they will look and follow the camera. That's what happened with this shot with Sophie. She's actually now, looking over her shoulder, and it's a relaxed shot, very easy to do. In this fashion shot of Steven, I've used a gray background, so a little bit about backgrounds then. The most popular one is white, and I like to use gray. Now, if you use a white background and you move your model away from the background, the further away from the background they are, the background will become a grayish color anyway. White is really popular for that reason. But I tend to use gray because I think gray is just really neutral, and I think fashion shots look great against a gray background. In this case it's a roll of paper. You just have it on stands on a bar that goes across, and you just pull it down. Now, collapsible backgrounds or gray as well. So consider them, and you can get them in a variety of colors and designs as well. In this shot of Sophie, I shot in color. This brings me to the next thing, oh, she is in color, and then convert to black and white later. Because that way you've got the color version and the black and white version, and I know that Sophie would always choose the color version. She's a happy person where I like the edgy look, and I went the black and white version. Of course, I can edit that color version in many different ways. This has got a special technique applied to it in post-production and I could have done honestly, many variations of black and white as well as many variations of color. So we always shoot in color. Now, if you have children, they make great subjects. This little girl belongs to a good friend of mine. She dressed Amelie up as a little fairy, and I took a selection of shots. Now, this was actually shot at their house in their front room in their lounge. I just put a white backdrop up and we got Amelie to sit there, and I took the shots. I think three shots like this work together really well. It was a great front shoot. If you've got children, it's something that perhaps you could try. I know there's a massive market for child and newborn photography. It's not something that interests me, but there is a massive market for it. It's very popular. If you have children or your friends have children, maybe you could practice on them because it is a front shoot to do. Back to Fen, outside in the snow. Just to show you that natural light is great. I planned the shoot. It was lovely, snowy day and don't worry because Fen is sitting on a plastic bag. I planned ahead and I knew I would never have her sit in on the top of those steps, it would be really cold. But again, big aperture used, I've got her to sit slightly awkward as well, just to make the shot look a bit different, so I've got that leg sort of, I was, on one angle. As I said, big aperture blurred the background and use natural light and it looks lovely, isn't it? You don't always need studio lights. Natural light is fantastic. In this shot of Romaan , who was a flamenco dancer from Spain. We went into Liverpool town center, just to get something a bit different. He's a very fashionable guy, so I put him in a shop window. That was the plan. You can see this gentleman suit in the window, and Romaan's is using a prop as well. He's got a packet of cigarettes in his hand as well. It looks really contemporary, doesn't it? It's a very old photograph that I took, when I first started my photographic career many, many years ago. That shop was a very famous shop in Liverpool, which isn't there anymore. But anyway, it's a shot I really love. It's just got a lot of depth too, doesn't it? This shot captured by one of my students is fabulous. You can see the story and the emotion in this lady's eyes, and it's just got so much atmosphere that shot has known. If you're abroad and you want to capture a shot like this, the big question is, do you ask the person or do you just take the shot? Now, my advice would be to just take the shot because if you ask them, what can tend to happen is they will smile or do something that they wouldn't normally do. I think you have to just be a bit stealthy and just get the shot. Just be a bit cheeky. If you're using a longer lens then maybe you don't know they're getting their photograph taken. But that's my advice because I think if you ask, it can kind of spoil a shot. This photograph is lovely, isn't it? The colors in it are fantastic. You can see the honesty. You can see the pain in her eyes as well as the pose, can't you? It's just a fabulous portrait. I captured this shot in Liverpool and I love it. I've obviously converted it to black and white because it looks so much more detailed in black and white. All the sort of experience and age in this lady's face rarely comes through, doesn't it? Now, to get a shot like that, it's a good idea to talk to your subject. I think in most portrait photography, that's what you should do anyway. I think if you're photographing a model, you don't have to. But for a non-model, it's always good to have a dialogue because it just makes them comfortable. To get a shot like this, I listened to the lady's story, which is really interesting, and that set the shutter perfectly. If there's a story involved, let the person tell the story, and if there's no story involved, like I say, talk to your sitter because that will really make them feel comfortable. I think this shot is marvelous, isn't it? It's got all the character in this lady's face, and a story comes out. It's really captured the emotion, doesn't it? Now, you may come across somebody who's quite timid in front of the camera. You can always ask them to look off camera. So they don't always have to look into the lens, they can look off. That's what I did here. This was a Russian model that came to my studio, and she was only about 17. We took a set of fashion shots and she didn't speak a word of English, which is quite funny. Plus she was a little bit shy and a little bit timid. It just made me laugh because now she's an international top model, who knew. But then again, when I look at this photograph within, you can see she's a very pretty girl, isn't she? But looking off camera works. If you're photographing someone that's a little bit timid, just get them to sort of focus on something else out of the shot, and it does work honestly. This shot of Rachel, I love this because again, it's that turn of the head. The slight turn of the head and I love the angles in the shot. The angle of the shoulder, and the way her head is sort of angled backwards. Again, you can see catch lights, you can see shadows. Yeah, it works really well. That slight change of head angle makes a massive difference in it. Certainly does it in this shot, doesn't it? The same with Sophie in this shot. I like the angles. What you do to hands and arms in photographs. Like I said before, you can give somebody something to hold. With women at least, they can put their hands in the hair or on the head. It's a fashion shot, it's like you wouldn't do a character study like that. But for a fashion shot, it does work well. The angles work really well in this photograph. Lastly, we have another one of Sophie, just to show you that a lot of portrait photography is about post-processing. That's what I've done in this shot because obviously, Sophie is not beyond a pane of glass. There's no condensation. It's all been added later in post-production. A lot of portraits photography that you see, it's always been edited in some way. Every photograph you ever see you of anything, has been edited. But we certainly do with portraits, and once you get a good shot, you got to get a good shot first. But once you get the good shot, you can do stuff like this, and then add other effects as I say, which is what I've done here with the glass and the condensation. That's portraits. Now it could be a whole course, photography course on its own, couldn't it? Because there's a lot to take in. But my tips for you would be, shoot in front of a window. Use natural light indoors, get by a big window and do it that way or go outdoors. Then obviously, if you're a bit more serious about it, buy off-camera flash, umbrellas, soft boxes, backgrounds or that type of stuff. Have formula though, that's the main thing. Honestly, it's something I love to do and maybe it's something you'll love to do too. Now, when you've completed all of the modules and you undertake the assignment, portraits will be part of the assignment and I would love to see what results that you come back with. Okay, now until then, I'll see you in the next module. [NOISE] 17. MODULE 16. Street: Street photography is a fun thing to do. Take yourself into the city center and take loads of photographs. It's easy as that or is it? We'll look at some tips and techniques, and then I'll show you some photographs as always. I have to jump in and take a look then. Stay safe and don't photograph anybody who objects to being in your photograph. Now, this is very true. Really honestly, I must emphasize that people are getting really touchy these days towards having their photograph taken, so be very, very careful. I've been stopped a number of times by people who've asked me to delete photographs where I've had to capture them in the shot, so be aware with that, and just be very careful. A camera with an articulating screen helps you to be inconspicuous. It does, and I've got one here, look and the screen flips out the back like so, and I can hold this at waist height. I hold it at waist height and look down as I'm taking the photograph, then nobody knows I'm capturing a shot. That's a little tip for you, but I think most cameras these days have articulating screens, but it does help a lot, honestly. A focal length between 10 to 35-millimeter is often used to create a wider shot, though a longer lens can help you shoot the scene from afar. Street photographers do like to use a wider field of view, and that's because it captures the whole scene, and it puts wherever your photograph, and whoever person or subject that you're photographing in that street scene, it puts it in the wider view, and they tend to do that. I do a bit of both, because you can actually use a long focal length, and zoom in, so say a 200 to 300-millimeter focal length. Obviously, when you photograph a scene or a person from that distance, they have no idea they get their photograph taken. Whatever lens you've got, just try both, and you'll find your own style basically. Vary between fast or slow shutter speeds depending on subject matter. Generally you are going to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action, but you can get some amazing effects by using a slower shutter speed just to get movements of people. It's entirely up to you which option to go for, but generally, you want to freeze the action. As I say, you can create some fantastic effects with a slower shutter. Perhaps stay in one location and allow photo opportunities to appear. Now, this is a good little tip. You could take yourself off into the city center, find somewhere to sit on a park bench, and then just wait for people and things to come to you. Quite often when you walk around with the camera, there's so much to take in isn't it? There's things you can miss. Sometimes it's easier to just stay in the one place and just wait for things to come to you like I say, but try both and see what works best for you. Try and capture people going about daily life, and also at work, but always look for the unusual. Of course caption people in their working environment is a great way to create a nice bit of street photography. It could be a market trader, it could be a road sweeper, it could be anything, and because they're actually doing something in the environment, and so that type of street photograph always looks really good, I think. That's a little tip for you. Look for people who are actually working in the environment. Let's jump in then and take a look at some examples. I believe this is the very first street shot I ever took with a digital camera in Dublin, in Ireland, and it was an easy one to take really because the guy who's painted blue, is a street performer, and he wasn't going to go anywhere. His role was to stand still, and to frighten people as they walked past. All I had to do was wait for somebody to come passed and give him a look, and that's exactly what happened in this photograph. You can see the guy with the raincoat walking past, and he's turned his head and he's got that quizzical look in his face. Timing is everything in that shot; isn't it? As I say, I waited for the right moment and got the timing perfect. It wasn't difficult to do, obviously, because the blue man wasn't going to go anywhere. That's a little tip for you, and I think I mentioned that already, didn't I? Stay in the one position, and something will happen, trust me. Always look for the unusual. I was cycling back from a friend's house, and I went past a building site or a demolition site in this case, and I could see that there was a piano that had been left inside the building. Luckily enough, I had my camera with me, and I just love this photograph. I love the way they are undecided what to do with the piano when it's being left inside the building. Now I've used photographer's license as I like to call it, and I've turned the camera through the Dutch angle to make the building look like it's falling over, of course it wasn't like that, it was upright, but it makes it look a little bit more edgy, doesn't it? You can do stuff like that, you're allowed. One of my favorite Liverpool shots, and again, it's all about time. These guys were practicing their parkour, freerunning, and a little tricks they do. I just love this shot of the guy doing the handstand down the steps, and the old lady walking past, and the look on her face is absolutely priceless, isn't it? I do love that shot, and yeah, it's being there with your camera, isn't it? This was a walk I did with some students, actually a composition class, and we had no idea that we'd bump into these guys that were practicing the parkour, and we were just lucky enough to get this shot. Again, it's timing, it's been there, isn't it? That's what street photography is all about because you've no idea what shot that you going to capture. The very first module we covered planned or spontaneous, and of course, I love to plan all my shots, but a shot like this is pure spontaneous. You have no idea what's going to happen, and I do absolutely adore that photograph, I think it's fantastic. This is a shot I captured in Madrid, and it goes back to what said early about photographing people at work. This is taken through a shop window, but that's okay. This young lady is hamming jeans, or altering jeans in the repair shop. In our module on framing, we looked at how we can use windows to frame a person. This young lady is framed in the window, and a frame between that anglepoise lamp as well, she's caught between that and the sewing machine. People in the environments that are work in a way, look fantastic in street shots. As I say, this one works really well, doesn't it? Again, you could say another frame shot where the two people enjoying a drink in the window of the Pope on Matthew Street. This is in a very famous street in Liverpool. I love that we have the musician walk and pass with his two guitars and I love that quizzical look from the lady in the window as well. Now obviously, she has seen me taking a photograph and she's not too happy. I know that but maybe you don't. Maybe she just looks quizzical but I do love that shot. It's a tale of two stories. I love the way they're framed. I love the way the guy with the guitar cases has got that motion blare as he walks past. This shot has got rule of thirds big time, doesn't it? Because the lady in the window is on the far right-hand side of the photograph and your eyes are drawn there. I was lucky when I took this shot because scratched into the window is the word SLL. Her face is perfectly framed by the middle letter. Although she's looking at me, I don't mind that because as I say, when she looked up, it was called perfectly in that source of square latter. Now, it's a piece of look I guess. Now, I did aim to photograph the lady in the window, but she wasn't looking up at the time. But again, at the camera waist level and I was just firing away and she just happened to look up. It's a bit of a happy accident, but it looks great, doesn't it? Very unusual and again, makeup that rule of thirds. Now you could say all that space on the left hand side is a waste, but it's not because it's drawing your eye over to the right-hand side. Perfect use of rule of thirds in that shot. Now, in a restaurant next door in Madrid, I captured this shot and it's a guy just reading his newspaper as he waits for his order to arrive. It's a very simple street shot. A man in his surroundings, the man in his restaurant, reading the paper, going about his daily life. That's what street photography is all about, isn't it? It's just capturing people, doing daily life, day-to-day things, and just capturing a certain emotion or a certain something because [inaudible]. I think this shot really does do that. Street performers make great photographs. Absolutely great. It's simple to do and because you know they're going to perform right in front of you. It's very easy to do. That's all I did with this shot. It was easy. The guy limboing going to the flame is doing all the work in that shot. All I have got to do is press the shutter release button. But they do make great shots. I love the people in the background watching. I just think that looks fabulous. Of course, I've taken you into the action with the low viewpoint. As you know, we've talked about viewpoints loads of times now, but keeping that low viewpoints has helped to take you into the action. Now, I mentioned earlier about a longer lens. Now, I shot this with a 200 millimeter lens. These ladies had no idea I was taking that photograph. Had I have had a shorter lens on, I would say 50 millimeter lens, I would have got to get closer and they would know they're having their photograph taken and I would have never caught that little moment where one is glancing over the other and they're munching away on their ice creams. I wouldn't have got that with a shorter lens. A telephoto lens really does come in handy. I think you need both really wide and telephoto. Some thing to think about, isn't it? This shot I captured in Liverpool actually features leading lines that lead up to the two young guys who are just taking in the summer sun in the center of Liverpool. It looks great, doesn't it? Even though it's a street shot, it still has another technique in this one, leading lines. As you've seen earlier with viewpoints and rule of thirds, all of the previous modules that cover different techniques can be applied into street photography. It isn't just about standing in the street and pressing your shutter release button, it's having a little think about what techniques you're going to use as well. As I say, this one uses leading lines to take us up to the two young guys. This cheeky little shot of the husband and wife, and the husband stealing his wife's crisps. It's just the look on their faces there. But you can get really whimsical shots when you do street photography. I remember seeing this couple and I stood in front of them. Well, back to them just in front of them. Then I just turned around with the camera and hoped I'd get something a bit different. I was lucky. But as my friend always says to me, you make your own look. It's serendipity, isn't it? I stood there knowing that I'd get something, I wasn't quite sure what it would be. But then turned around and noticed she was offering her husband a potato chip or crisps, as we call them in the UK and I managed to get that shot. It's quite funny, isn't it? Again, I love this shot of the young mother checking on her daughter. You can see she's a very contemporary woman, isn't she? She has the tattoos, but she's got a certain grace about her. It's just a lovely photograph of mother and daughter. You've got this younger, say contemporary woman but all the source of importance of motherhood is still in that shot. It's a 21st century motherhood shot if you like, street shot. I just love it. I love the colors as well. The colors of the tattoos and the colors of the things in the background. Again, that was a shot where I could see from a distance what was going on and I wanted to do. Now because she got back to me, I used a 50 mil lens with a really big aperture to blur the background. Then just walking around Liverpool, I captured this shot. I do love shots of where there's isolation, where you have an empty city and just one or two people. I think that always looks good. I love this couple walking up a street in Liverpool and I love the source of Christmas lights above as well. Some of these photographs often converts to black and white, some of them in color. That's the joy of source of edit in photographs. I think this would have looked good in color but I think it looks a little bit better in black and white. This shot of the lady running for the bus, absolutely love this shot as well. Again, it's serendipity. I did mention earlier about hanging around in one location and just wait to see what happens. But this is the opposite. I was actually walking back to my car when I took this photograph and I noticed that the lady waved and shouted to the bus driver, so I just quickly got this shot. You never know what you're going to see with street photography. There you have it. Street photography, it's wonderful, isn't it? It's an easy thing to do as in you don't need much equipment, you just need you and your camera and your imagination and apply all the techniques more the different modules that we've covered throughout this course. Now, this brings us to the end of the course and I hope you've enjoyed it. Did you know you are now 28 questions away from glory? Now, what do I mean by that? Well, coming up is the test and you've got 28 questions to answer. Now, it's a bit fun. Honestly, it's more like a pop quiz. But what it will do, it will act as a reminder of all the techniques that we've covered. I'm not going to see what answers you write down. I'll never see them, will I? It's more of a little source of aid memoir, something to help you remember all those different techniques. So I'll see you a little bit later when we look at the test together. Bye for now. 18. The Technique Test: Are you ready to take the test? Twenty-eight easy questions. Well, 28 easy questions if you've been paying attention that is, otherwise, they're not easy. Anyway, treat it like a pop quiz. It's only a bit of form. I'll never get to see your answers so there's not to worry about [inaudible]. Whole purpose of this test is to help you remember the different techniques just to test yourself. As I say, I won't see your answers so it's not a problem, is it? Now, you can download the test paper, which has the questions on it or, you can just simply use a pad and pen. It's entirely up to you. Now at the end of each question, I'll pull up a 10-second timer. No, it's not a speed test so you can take as long as you like. If it was me, I'd pause the video and take a bit longer to answer each question, but that's entirely up to you. Now, honestly, have a bit of form with it. There's no pressure at all, it is just a bit of form. I'll be back a little bit later with the answers so best of luck. What technique has been used to create this photograph? Which rule of photography has been used in this photograph? Name as many techniques as you can in this photograph. Would you position the horizon in the bottom zone in rule of thirds? Name both techniques used in this photograph. Name the angle and the technique used in this photograph. What technique has been used to create this photograph? What has this photograph captured? In this photograph, converging lines create what? Strong graphical content, but what is the technique being used? Is the main subject in the correct place? If so, why? Pretty plastic pipes, but what does this photograph create? Has this photograph being cropped correctly, plus, what is the technique? Looking up at strong architecture creates what technique? Name the main technique used to capture this photograph. A quick reminder of this photography rule, but what is it? Subject matter perfectly placed? If so, why? Graphical content captured using what photographic technique? What does this shot have that makes it work as a good landscape photo? Nice and low, but what technique has been used to capture this shot? Keep it. What is the missing word? Several techniques used here, but can you name them all. This technique takes you on a journey, can you name the technique? So many techniques in the shot, what would you say is the strongest? An unusual angle, what would you change to achieve it? A tricky one. Name the technique. Is the horizon in the correct place? Finally, several techniques are being used, can you name them? How well did you do? Let's take a look at the answers together. Question 1, what technique has been used to create this photograph? Of course, it's viewpoints. The camera is in a really low position in amongst the leaves. Question 2, which rule of photography has been used in this photograph? The answer is, rule of thirds. I would also accept the answer, creative empty space as well because the giant property is moving towards the empty space. Question 3, name as many techniques as you can in this photograph. Well, I can see leading line, curves and shapes, vanishing points, and rule of thirds. If you've said any of those, give yourself a little mark. Question 4, would you position the horizon in the bottom zone in rule of thirds? The answer is, yes, and also in the top zone, and of course, you can use the horizontal line at the top and at the bottom of the rule of third grid to position your horizon. But yeah, bottom zone, top zone is perfect. Question 5, name both techniques used in this photograph. Of course we have viewpoints and rule of thirds, the camera is in a really low position, and of course, all the information is in the bottom zone using the rule of third grid. Question 6, name the angle and the technique used in this photograph. Well, the angle is a Dutch angle and props are being used in this shot. So props are being positioned at ground level just to create some unique. Questions 7, what technique has been used to create this photograph? This one is framing. As you can see, the children are being perfectly framed in the opening in the wooden structure. Question 8, what has this photograph captured? It's a big pile of tires, and they've created a pattern. Question 9, in this photograph, converging lines create what? Of course, they create a vanishing point that takes you on a journey through the photograph. Question 10, strong graphical content, but what is the technique being used? Of course, it is line, isn't it? Strong graphical lines create strong graphical content. Question 11. Is the main subject in the correct place? If so, why? Of course, the little boy in the car is in the right-hand zone, which follows rule of thirds. Question 12. Pretty plastic pipes, but what does this photograph create? Well, pretty plastic pipes create a pretty plastic pattern. This photograph is captured pattern. Question 13. Has this photograph been cropped correctly, plus what is the technique? The answer is yes, this photograph as been perfectly cropped because it has avoided the joints. Of course, it's a lovely low viewpoint. Question 14. Looking up at strong architecture creates what technique? Of course, it's line isn't. But I will accept viewpoints, as the viewpoint has been changed to point the camera upwards. Name the main technique used to capture this photograph. I did say the main technique, so the answer I'm looking for, of course, is vanishing points. Question 16, a quick reminder of this photography rule, but what is it? Of course, it's the rule of thirds. Question 17, subject matter perfectly placed? If so, why? Of course, the subject matter is being positioned in the left-hand zone, which follows rule of thirds isn't it? Question 18. Graphical content captured using what photographic technique? Of course it is line isn't it? Question 19. What does this shot have that makes it work as a good landscape photograph? Of course, it has good foreground, middle, and background elements. Question 20. Nice and low, but what technique has been used to produce this shot? It's our old friend isn't it, viewpoints, a lovely low camera angle. Question 21, keep it, and now what is the missing word, of course, the missing word is simple. Keep it simple. Question 22. Several techniques used here, but can you name them all? Give yourself a mark for any of these; rule of thirds, creative empty space, viewpoints, and line. Question 23, this technique takes you on a journey. Name the technique. Of course, it's leading line, so the line or the fence takes you on a journey off into the distance. Question 24. So many techniques in this shot. What would you say is the strongest? I would say that the rule of thirds, but we can also see curves and shapes and vanishing points. Any of those would be ideal. Question 25. An unusual angle. But what would you change to achieve it? Of course, it's viewpoint, isn't it? The photographer is at the top of the steps, looking down. Question 26. A tricky one, name the technique. It's a row of park benches sneaking off into the distance. It is leading line because it leads your eye into the shot. Question 27. Is the horizon in the correct place? Of course, if it follows rule of thirds, it will be. Of course, it's in the bottom zone and it looks majestic, doesn't it? The sky looks fantastic. Finally, several techniques have been used, can you name them? We have rule of thirds, vanishing points, leading line, and viewpoints all in that one shot. Whichever one you decided, give yourself a little mark. How well did you do, 28 out of 28, a little bit less? It doesn't really matter. It was just a bit of fun, I can also say it was devised to help you remember the different techniques. What you've probably found when you're answering the questions was that a lot of the techniques blow into each other anyway to create one photograph. That's the beauty of creative photography isn't it? Once you know all those techniques, you can start blending them together to create some great photographs, which brings me on to the assignment. It's optional. You don't have to complete the assignment, but I would love to see your work. You can download the assignment sheet or maybe just pick the sections that interest you. It's entirely up to yourself. I would love to see you work and I'm sure other people would love to see your work as well. Maybe we can get this level of photographic community going where we can all look at each others stuff and get ideas. How wonderful would that be. But above all else, thank you so much for watching this course. I hope you've enjoyed it and you take care of yourselves and I'll see you on the next course.