Everything You Need To Know To Master Composition In One 30 Minute Lesson

Nov 4, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

Everything You Need To Know To Master Composition In One 30 Minute Lesson

Nov 4, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

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composition

This is probably one of the most comprehensive videos we’ve seen on the topic of composition. Though it was made with the intent to help out CGI artists, the advice educator Andrew Price dishes out to us in the 30-minute tutorial can be applied to just about any creative work, especially including photography and cinematography. Price is able to teach visual artists the foundations of composition as well as some more advanced techniques, making this video a useful tool for all skill levels of photographers.

The Foundation Of Good Composition

Price does such an excellent job of explaining things in his video that I won’t go into to great depth, but here are a few key points that are covered in the clip:

  • Focal Element – Having a subject in a photograph may seem like an obvious necessity, but quite often photographs are taken where there is no focal element to provide a sense of purpose to the image. Focal elements can be any number of things such a face, a person, an animal…They can even be intangible objects such as areas of high contrast or a shallow depth of field which works to draw the viewers eye to a specific part of the image. Price further explains in the clip how you can add further interest to your focal element by understanding leading lines, geometry, and framing.
  • Structure – During this segment of the video Price delves into all those “rules” we so preciously adhere to such as the rule of thirds, symmetry, the golden ration, pyramids, and utilization of the full frame. Of course, rules were meant to be broken and sometimes it’s fun to think outside the rule of thirds, but a good photographer should have a solid understanding of the rules before they set out to intentionally break them.
  • Balance – For the last segment of the lesson, Price talks about finding a balance in your photos that ensures “the visual weight of the image is balanced.”  One of the ways he recommends going about this is by assessing the values of light, saturation, and contrast in your photo. You also want to make sure that the objects (faces, figures, etc) inside of your photo don’t overpower each other so much that they take away from other important elements in your photograph.  I can see a lot of this information being useful in post production, but the beauty of having a solid foundation in the rules of composition is that you’ll have the instinctive foresight of applying them in camera rather than having to hack up your photos in post production.

composition-video
Again, I urge you to take a look at the video as Price goes into great detail about the above mentioned processes along with some other great bits of advice. The clip also provides the benefit of giving you lots of great sample images to use as visual learning tools. Very helpful! Take a look…

Understanding Composition

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

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10 responses to “Everything You Need To Know To Master Composition In One 30 Minute Lesson”

  1. UnWise Guy Avatar
    UnWise Guy

    learning spelling takes a bit longer

  2. Cedric Avatar
    Cedric

    Comopostion ? I was like “Oh, something I never heard about !” :-D

    1. Tiffany Mueller Avatar
      Tiffany Mueller

      (facepalm)

      thanks for pointing that out, cedric! ;)

      1. Kiliman Avatar
        Kiliman

        Sorry to say it’s still misspelled. You’re missing the I between the S and T. Luckily the URL is spelled correctly. Thanks for pointing out the video.

        1. Tiffany Mueller Avatar
          Tiffany Mueller

          hahaha, I should get some sleep or something…Thank you! =D

  3. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    Here’s a cool story, from my life.

    Quite a few years ago I started to fondle around with 3DS Max, by making somewhat simple props for games. Later, I become rather skilfull, with it and 3DCG become my hobby. I particularly liked interior visualisation, but my main weakness was lighting. I watched quite a few tutorials on this subject, until in one of it, a CG artist said something, like this: “If you want to understand, how the light works in scene – you should take a camera, shoot and study the light in real life”.

    And so I did. But, interestingly, i was so captivated by photography, that I decided to make it my main hobby.

    And now, ironically, I am learning composition for photography, from CG artist.

    :D

    1. Tiffany Mueller Avatar
      Tiffany Mueller

      Haha, that is a cool story! Life is funny like that sometimes :)

    2. ajfudge Avatar
      ajfudge

      And now you’re skilled in both fields. :)

    3. Mario Avatar
      Mario

      It happened the same the to me (I started with 3D Studio v4 for DOS) and now photography is my only passion or at least the only one I choose to spend time on

  4. Beceza Urr Avatar
    Beceza Urr

    But I have a question… If I have only ONE clear focal element, wouldn’t it be out of balance? and If I balance it by placing another counter subject, wouldn’t that disrupt my focal element??