Photography 101 – Lesson 1

Yes, I am calling it a “course” for lack of a better word. Don’t worry…no grades, no homework assignments, and no scheduled class times. This is for FUN. Learn and work at YOUR pace.

Pictures can be beautiful. They can decorate, tell a story, or depict an emotion. A great picture can evoke an emotion in the viewer. You know you like a photo, you know it’s beautiful, but do you know WHY?

Composition…it’s very, very important! If you aren’t happy with the quality of your pictures, you can improve your photography TODAY by following some simple steps.

1: Get in CLOSE! Simplify…fill the frame with your subject. Get the distracting background out of the picture. Get in REALLY close…capture the DETAILS of your subject.

2: THINK about what you are doing, and where things are when you compose your shot. You don’t have to put the subject dead center. It is natural to want to center your subject…resist that urge! You need to learn to see things that you are photographing in terms of lines and shapes. Move the lines out of the center of the frame.

The rule of thirds is one of the most commonly discussed “rules” in photography. It’s not a hard and fast RULE, but a good rule of thumb. Read more about it here. A triangle is another way of composing an image. You are composing your image in a rectangular frame.

Basing your composition on a triangle, one that goes from one corner to two opposite sides, is a good way to create a strong image.

Another good way to compose a photo is using natural elements of the scene to frame out two or more sides of the frame.

You can also use leading lines…like a beaten path that leads the eye back into your photo.

You can also use a circular composition (and yes, this breaks the “rule of thirds”!). With things like a flower, or a face, get in CLOSE, to create a circular composition, like a whirlpool, it draws the viewer’s eyes into the photo.

Negative space is another. This is when the subject only takes up a tiny portion of the frame, like some blades of glass, against the sky. This is done to emphasize the small size of the subject, or to depict a wide open space.