The Art of Composition




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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Class Length: 7-Weeks
Class Options: Online
Lecture Duration: About 3 Hours with Break
Provided Material: Lecture Slides & Compositional Overlays