Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Photo review: Composition examples

From: Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture

Video: Photo review: Composition examples

In the next couple of movies we're going to look at two different sets of photographs and discuss how we can work with composition in order to communicate something different. So here in this first movie, we will go ahead and turn off the lights and we are going to look at a slideshow of photographs. Now these photographs are portraits I captured of Shawn Stussy. Shawn is a really fascinating person, an amazing artist. Well I am going to start off by taking a look at him in his studio. So go ahead and take a look at this first image and here you can see him surrounded by some of his tools on a workbench and he is constantly creating.

Photo review: Composition examples

In the next couple of movies we're going to look at two different sets of photographs and discuss how we can work with composition in order to communicate something different. So here in this first movie, we will go ahead and turn off the lights and we are going to look at a slideshow of photographs. Now these photographs are portraits I captured of Shawn Stussy. Shawn is a really fascinating person, an amazing artist. Well I am going to start off by taking a look at him in his studio. So go ahead and take a look at this first image and here you can see him surrounded by some of his tools on a workbench and he is constantly creating.

I started off depicting Shawn inside window light and I like this, but I wanted to create images that were a little bit more simple. I wanted to do something that had a bit more of an edge to it. We're right in front of his studio is a concrete wall and a concrete driveway. Now visually it's not very interesting. But I knew that it would allow for some interesting opportunities to communicate different things in a pretty open space using open shade. Let's take a look. Now here in this first image, he is leaning against the wall and you can see there's this wind surfboard that he is building right next. It's really a geometric shape and form is really important in this context.

In another photograph I'm using that same wall but this time I asked him to sit on a bike. I brought my camera down low and by focusing on the bike rather than him, he falls out of focus. The next image you can almost see the bike behind him. I asked him to stand up and to raise up his hands and I did a couple of different things with his hand positioning here till I got something that I thought was kind of interesting and again I'm working within the confines of the space that I have. What's interesting about these images is that I am capturing these in a very simple way.

Simple camera, simple lens. 50 millimeter lens, open shade, working within a defined space. In the next image that we will see here I brought the bike forward. Now he fell back. Again the bike is in focus; he's a little bit more out of focus. In this photograph I removed the bike and he's getting a little bit away from the wall and then I decided to move in closer on this next shot and here you can see that I'm really a close. I like this image. I feel like there is strength. I like that there is some imperfection in the frame.

Next, moving into some other spaces down the wall just a few feet, there were some stairs and you can see next to it there is a door that's open. We will talk about that second but I like the graphic nature of the stairs. I had him sit looking up to one corner of that front parking area. In the next image I put him on that shelf right in front of the door with the gate there. I love how the lights really draw attention to the subject in the middle of the frame. My camera position as you'll notice is pretty low. I'm probably kneeling down looking up at him.

In his neck shot again I worked with the wall, went back to that. Again the line is leading into him but I'm low to the ground and I realized I liked that lower camera position. Then I decided to work back into that studio space. In this case I closed the door and there he is inside of that shape. when you are working with composition, you are asking yourself how can I use scale, how can I relate the subject to the space, how do they fit inside a space? Not just in front of it but really inside of it. So I started to wonder if I could modify this. Here's the next image where I dropped down a bit lower, had him raise his arms, and then one more where I positioned the surfboard behind him within that space.

So again the point here isn't to say that each of these images are great and you should do these things. Rather it's to get you thinking about how composition is about changing your position, where you're standing, your camera position, and also your subject and there are so many different stories you can convey by simply moving your subject or you and your camera.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture
Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture

25 video lessons · 17856 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.