Training Your Eye: Perfecting Photo Composition | June Kim | Skillshare

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Training Your Eye: Perfecting Photo Composition

teacher avatar June Kim, Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction + Project Overview


    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Aside from your camera equipment, your eye is the most crucial part of photography. This class will start off at the basic rules of photo composition and then will show you how to break them and make them your own to create your own style. We’ll use both mobile and DSLR cameras to practice and perfect composition in the shot. Adventure alongside June as she hits up her favorite spots in San Francisco, showing you how she considers and photographs everything from a product to a landscape. 

Meet Your Teacher

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June Kim



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1. Introduction + Project Overview: I welcome to training your eyes perfecting photo composition. I'm June. I'm a photographer here in the Bay Area. I do everything from product to less style to landscape, whether it's for work or for fun. So what will do you? Today's just go through different scenes that I see during a day interment Cisco, whether it's product, portrait or landscape, and you'll see the classes structure that way as well. And what I think is that no matter who you are on, no matter what kind of photo equipment you have your eyes the most important thing. When it comes to photography, your I can change everything the ways scenes is really unique to you. So I want to share what that looks like for me and what you can do to practice. That, and the project at the end will also be a practice in seeing a scene, but in different ways. So I think it'll be a lot of fun. I'll go through some photography terms and composition turn, so I assume that you know those things before we start on. But if you don't know something, ask away. I will definitely answer is the comments or in lessons. Well, so thanks and hope you trying for the right. So for the class project what? You'll be doing something very similar to what I'm doing in the class. And what you'll do is go out and find one scene that you want to zero in on. And that could be anything. Anything you want at all but a big one scene. And first off, you're gonna tell us a little bit about that. Why you wanted to be there, what you want to capture And then secondly, take three different photos of the scene scene, but used a composition in different ways. Kind of experiment. Go outside of your box a little bit and upload those three photos and then lastly, give a little description about what you were trying to captures. Maybe you What kind of experimentation? You did it. And then what photo you'd be using as your final image. I think it's really interesting to kind of see how everyone experiments. And then we can all learn from each other. I think you'll learn a lot about yourself, a meeting, what your go to compositions are, and that could be really inspiring as well. So yeah, it's a pretty full project, but I think it will be a lightning and really fun 2. Product: for the live portion of today. We're here at Lambert Floral Studio and my friends family has created this beautiful bouquet for us to study as her subject and play with some of the composition. So what first comes to mind when I see this bouquet is doing a wider shot and kind of using all this beautiful black negative Steve that we have available to us? And secondly, Sami really brings out certain details in his arrangement so really honing in and making some interesting compositions out of the details. And then thirdly, we have some extra pieces of the bouquet that are left over in transit from the bouquet being put here. So will use those pieces and create another interesting composition out of the arrangement itself. So, firstly, when we're looking at all this negative space, um, we really want that to be the star Almost because it really speaks a lot with this bouquet went into an image. So first I'll take some landscape is in portrait, just Teoh get different ways of explain. So firstly, I take a step back, look at the scene and frame it so that this bouquet is in the left corner on, then a lot of this negative space expressed. All right, so a couple of shots here and always make sure your lighting is really nice here. It's really defused the curtains, Um, a couple portrait. So be it. And as we go into some of the details of this bouquet of their three point that I would want to show in some of the detail shop. And one is this kind of reaching flower that, um, Sami puts in his arrangements pretty often that I want to emphasize. And secondly, this kind of star of the show is with white flour on the side. So getting a detail that thirdly, there is some interesting fall elements that are happening down here and there a little unusual, but are worth bringing out images. So as I'm up close to this bouquet of first focusing on these flowers here so I would get a little close on again using, uh, negative space, which helps to size and also leave the eye towards those flowers. Couple landscape for good measure. Great Second, moving over to this side. It's also getting some really nice light, so playing with that is great, but emphasizing this flower again. Using from the negative space to the right is really helpful in emphasizing this thing. Subject back. Take a few there. Thirdly, moving down into this portion, emphasizing this guy right here, which is interesting to me. And I would want to emphasize that and they get the name of the game here. Interestingly, is negative space because this white table is really helping reflect light on and one portrait great on the last shot will take are using these kind of extra elements that fell off from from the UK and using them to style this in an interesting way so immediately. What I see is these elements here can be continued onto the table. So I might has really leave them on the table there on see what that looks like, maybe arrange it and style it differently, depending on the shot, but again. But I really like this angle and kind of an interesting leading lines composition into the bouquet, sort of a good entry point for your eye, and then also to understand what's happening here. So go into that shot as we come down into this shot. I want to get close for a few sharp. Maybe even pull the focus onto the details first, and then try a few where the focus is on the actual. You can always play with some of looked up the field or things like that, but composition wise, I'm really trying to focus on this line here. You can always kind of move around the bouquet as well, that always focusing on that element. Okay, in terms of camera settings for all these shots, it's really up to you. I trust that you have the understanding for that, but in terms of composition for the first wide shot, you might want a more neutral aperture kind of around five or six, just so you can capture all of the details in the UK as well as the wall. Uh, and then, as we go into some of the detail shots, you can pull the aperture down Teoh be 35 or 28 to just get some depth of field, and you can always play around with that as well. But in terms of shutter speed just adjusted, according Teoh, what lighting you think is great. I love this kind of dramatic lighting, so I might just try to emphasize that a little bit 3. Portraiture: So for the fortress section of our class of here we have Michaela and she'll be our model for the day of and were against this really nice backdrop that will use. So we'll use her against the backdrop and try some different compositions in portraiture. It's all just talking through some of the shots. I immediately see. There's this really interesting kind of shadow that I'm seeing from the tree that's behind me at the awning above me on. Whereas that might be unfortunate for some people in this case will use it to our advantage and create some interesting compositions out of that. So I immediately my mind goes to seeing her face kind of in this pocket of light that's created in between the two shadows. So I'll arrange her a little bit, your right a little bit great and then leaned back against the wall. If you could look up towards the light, beautiful, then I'll just get first like a medium shot Teoh. And then if you could just eyes down towards the ground. Same way and let's try one where you looking straight at the camera and I think the light moved a little bit. So what I'll do is adjust Michaela a little bit to her left Come a little bit more, uh, to your right. Awesome. And right there is where I see the light now again created by these crazy shadows here. So if one more time if you could look a little bit from the top 123 What's really interesting here is I'm seeing the light hit her eyes and that's something I really want. Teoh kind of focus on has left interesting to me So one more if you looked at great expression and one where your eyes are down Yeah, Hello, great! And one looking straight at me 23 also So yeah, And then what we might also try is this mural is so big and great to use all the space that it provides. So I might go a little wider, take a step back and there's so much space to work with. So in this case, I might have you take a couple steps to your right and what I would want to do is almost like these flowers here are blooming around her, which is really cool, and it works really well with the colors of her outfit. So if you could take a micro step to your right, Perfect. And this is a full body shot. So just, like, comfortable. Look at me first. I want to see great. We'll just take a couple more. Take a couple steps here. Right again? Yes. Perfect. 12 Beautiful. Um, so, yeah, that's how we would kind of create the space where she's living within these flowers that we're seeing So driving against what the mural is giving us also her height and like space with. So, Thirdly, what I'm seeing here is this really nice pocket of light. Uh, thanks to the weird shadows that we're getting But they're creating this really big spotlight office. One flower that kind of works with a Kayla's type of the other elements also worked with her outfit, too. So utilizing that along with this great lighting will get will have her kind of move into the space. So if you could come over here and legs to one side and you can rest onto the muralist, if that's comfortable for you and next, we'll have a kind of look towards the light, so yeah, and closing your eyes is great kind of love that and we'll take a couple portrait. Looks great. Hold that right there. So I'm trying different angles and orientations, landscape and portrait. But again, just making sure that I'm utilizing this'll. Nice shadow that's being created around this flower. And I think we mailed the shot. Thanks. So in terms of camera settings with the iPhone, it's really simple. But what you want to make sure to really adjust for brightness and contrast and then also make sure you're getting the composition right into the shot with three Top the screen, too. And that's super important because then you can get the right brightness and really nailed the lighting as well. 4. Landscape: welcome, Teoh. Our third and last portion of the class, which is landscapes. And we're here at Verneuil Hill, which is a great vista point in the middle of San Francisco. Um, and it has a lot to work with in terms of landscapes. My friend Andrew is also here to kind of help us with some scale and just working with some interesting shots around this area. So well, kind of explore, find some shots to take and experiment with the composition. So here we are, in a super super sunny, which is great. And, um, I made these Andrew to kind of show scale, which I love to do and a lot of my landscape shots. So we're gonna take a photo of this golden hour and what I'm having him do is just kind of stand bathed in all this golden sunlight. And what I want to do is really center him with the sun, because that's where I want your eye to go. He's subject. But of him within this landscape, it is what's really important. So, uh, we'll try a few shots there, so I might just get really low cause I want him in relation to the sun pretty close in the photograph. So, uh, get down there. And I asked him to move, but where he is Great, Um, and what's really cool is I'm getting a lot of diffused might. So he's a silhouette, but it's really soft and kind of beautiful looking along with this great landscape we're getting on. All the mountains are pill mountain ridges that are behind so and lastly, his shadow is kind of casting this nice a center position in the middle of photographs. So you'll kind of as you see the photograph, see him, see the sun and then move out to the landscape. Let's get a couple more shots, might even get really low, and I'll play around with some different composition. So cutting him off a a little bit or giving him a lot of mega space of top and yeah, that should be it. I think we nailed the shot. So a second location is here where all this kind of sunlight is beaming on this portion of the landscape. So we want to capture that again. I, Andrew for scale, which is really fun and kind of just a nice way to show that which I like to do. My photo We'll get down pretty low so that we can see him among all the cityscapes. And I'm just gonna do this on my phone because that's super fun and get a couple of shots. I make it down really low because him in relation to the horizon line I want his head to come above that kind of give that feel of looking over the city rather than being just muddled in it. And I want him to stand out as much as the landscape that's lit up by the sun right now. So make it really low, kind of crouched down. Luckily, the iPhone is great for this. You don't have Teoh look through the viewfinder and experiment which shot. And then I might ask Andrew to kind of do a little thing with feet to give us a more negative space. Them? Yeah, you can just experiment with placing him all the way to the left of the frame. Or maybe right in the middle really depends on what you want. Toe focus on with your composition. But again, for me, I'm really focusing on this lit up portion of the landscape and also Andrews giving balance to both of those in my shop. Great. So now we're at her final location of and the sudden has actually gone down, but those beautiful color in the sky. So we want to capture a bit of that, Um, and again, using and recruit scale. So, yeah, we'll just pop down here. I kind of have them propped over there of and while talking through this last shot that we're gonna go through. So what we're seeing here is a lot of negative space, which again we want to play with. And, um, Sutra tower over there is really iconic, so kind of almost paralleling Andrew to the tower and making them equals in this photograph . So I'll take a couple with my phone and DSLR here because it's our money shot of the day and just doing a little bit of rule of thirds. So you can place both of them at these little corners, the rule of thirds, which are really nice. But you can also break fat and kind of tilt your phone up and get really tiny skyline on a very tiny Andrew or maybe even make them really even right in the middle of the frame. So again, I'll shoot that my dear far and show you a couple shots. And it's always helpful to kind of play with levels that you could stand all the way up or crushed slowly and experiment, and I think we got it. 5. Final Thoughts: Congrats on making it to the end of class. I hope you had a fun time going through different types of photography and seeing different sings and just a reminder for a year to go out and be inspired and do your own and come back and upload those three photos. It could be really simple whether you're taking them on a dance. A lot are or your phone really doesn't matter. What we're looking at is your composition and your eye and upload those three photos shows what you got, and I think we can all learn from each other really well. So thanks and hope you have fun.