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

Thinking about composition

From: Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture

Video: Thinking about composition

Here we are out at this interesting location. It's a brisk and breezy morning and whenever I arrive at a location I try to make sense of it. First of course, you take it in and then you say well, how I can I compositionally make sense of this scene? And here in this initial movie I want to talk about composition from a conceptual perspective. Then in the next movie we will look at how we can use composition in order to create interesting photographs. Now composition is really about framing. So how do we create an interesting frame? Because sometimes there is too much in it, there is too much clutter.

Thinking about composition

Here we are out at this interesting location. It's a brisk and breezy morning and whenever I arrive at a location I try to make sense of it. First of course, you take it in and then you say well, how I can I compositionally make sense of this scene? And here in this initial movie I want to talk about composition from a conceptual perspective. Then in the next movie we will look at how we can use composition in order to create interesting photographs. Now composition is really about framing. So how do we create an interesting frame? Because sometimes there is too much in it, there is too much clutter.

What we can do often is say put a subject in the middle of frame. That feels nice to us, it's easy to look at, but sometimes it's too static. It's not very interesting. On the other hand, we can follow a rule or a guide, the rule of thirds. I am sure you have heard about it. The rule of thirds is based on this ratio. It's this number Phi and what mathematicians call this number is an irrational number. So while the rule of thirds is a rule, what you do is you put the point of interest on one of those third points in your frame. It's also more a guide because there is mystery to it. It's not something that can be completely defined and that's true with all beauty, right.

You can make sense of it, but there is just a little bit more, there is a little bit extra there, that you can't really or truly define. Now once we start to follow these rules or guides, we have to keep in mind that it's not the only thing we have to keep in mind as we are shooting. For example, if we shift a little bit and let's say we follow this rule of thirds, but then neglect to pay attention to background, we can be following one thing but then ruining the composition with say a pole coming out of someone's head or something like that. So we have to make these subtle shifts and keep everything in mind.

I like how Feininger puts it. He says often times-- I've learn this to experience-- that the more interesting the subject, the less the photographer focuses in on the background. So to create good composition you have to start thinking about what I want to communicate, what story do I want to tell? You have to look at your subject and when you are photographing people, a lot of times you lock eyes with a person. You are drawn into that person. But what we need to do is to lock eyes, look at them, but then literally let our eyes travel around the frame and take in the rest of the frame in order to create good composition.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

25 video lessons · 17434 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 preferencesfrom 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.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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.