The Art of Composition


Have you ever wondered why certain photos work or “feel right”? What makes powerful imagery so captivating and what can you learn from the masters that will promote new ways to grow as a photographer? You have the gear and have taken introductory photography courses. Now it’s time to explore and tune your artistic eye. 
Join Jeffrey Gabriel Silva for a 7-week course on the Art of Composition. The study of composition, or the arrangement of parts into an integral whole, will provide new insights into the beauty that is found in the harmonious arrangement of compositional elements such as color, light, and shape. Composition is the foundation from which artistic intent flourishes and this course will help you uncover and use the underlying structures that make timeless photographs endlessly dynamic.
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January 10th, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Thursdays)
March 14th, 7:00 PM (Thursdays)


The Art of Composition is a 7-week course that will draw from examples in all genres of fine art photography as we analyze, critique, and explore compositional unity in visual art. At the start of the course, students will be given transparency grid layouts in various aspect ratios to use on their camera LCD screens as a starting framework from which to compose their scenes. The use of grids is only the beginning! Other elements of composition will be introduced in order to build layers of organized thought and craftsmanship into your work. You will practice capturing the world around you with a discerning eye. Next time a scene entertains your curiosity you will have the skills to maximize its compositional potential.
This course is designed to have classroom lecture presentations and in-class, “hands-on” lab components. In-class labs will explore Portraiture, Still Life, Landscape / Architecture, and Street Photography. All homework assignments are submitted digitally for in-class critique and a printing session will be held on the last day of class as a showcase of your work.
A preview of the topics covered in this course:
• An analysis of works from photographers, painters, and filmmakers
– What do Henri Cartier-Bresson, Johannes Vermeer, and Wes Anderson have in common?
• Studies and assignments in 3:2, 4:5, 4:3, and 1:1 aspect ratios
– Using aspect ratios beyond the traditional 35mm frame (3:2) 
• Gestalt Theory
– Psychological principles that make sense of chaos and help us organize visual space
• Beyond the Rule of Thirds: an introduction to Dynamic Symmetry
• Perspective depth and contrast
– Translating our 3D world onto a 2D surface
• Controlling and redirecting light in post-processing
– Dodging and Burning to empower our work and direct the viewer’s attention 
• Still Life and Portraiture photography as compositional studies
– Studio projects where you control every pixel of your photographic canvas.  
• Landscape, Architecture, and Street Photography
– What to do when you can’t control elements of the outside world. 
• Color Theory and Color Editing in Adobe Lightroom CC
• Film emulation and film color palettes 
– What makes Kodachrome a classic color film? 
A basic working knowledge of Adobe Lightroom CC is highly recommended comparable to having completed Photo 1. 
For more about the instructor and his work please visit his website:


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