Fundamentals of Composition - Photography Lesson 1


Photo by me @derangedvisions

Lesson Skill Level - All Skills
Gear required - Camera



Now that I have my Photography Lovers Community active, I am going to start posting some photography tutorials and tips in there as well. One of my goals with the community is to hopefully be able to teach people a little more with photography and get people interested in it as well.

One of the things with photography is that it takes practice and to get better at it, you actually have to go out and shoot new stuff. You can learn as much as you want through classes and stuff, but if you never put that stuff to the test and actually go shoot, you will have a hard time progressing with your skills.

I will be rewarding people that take part in these lessons with curation from me and you will also have a chance of being curated by @ocd and others if you post into the Photography Lovers Community. I hope that you take some skills away from these lessons as you go out and shoot.

Lesson Objectives

  • Learn and understand the basics of composition to become aware of all the elements of your frame in order to create more thought out and overall better photographs.

  • Incorporate the Visual Elements into your photographs and understand the meanings behind them.

Seeing better photographs


Before you take a photograph, ask yourself the reason behind the photograph you are about to take. Many people just take pictures to take pictures, but most truly great photographs do not happen by chance. There are many things to consider when trying to create the perfect photograph, and this lesson is aimed at trying to make you aware of the different things you should consider when creating your photos.

Lesson Objectives

When a viewer is looking at a photograph, they are unable to view the whole photograph at one time. Instead, their eyes see portions of the photograph at a time, and some visual elements of the photograph draw more attention than others.

The eye tends to follow the path of a line, and converging lines tend to draw the eye into the point of convergence. Take this image below for example. The eye naturally follows the path, while the trees keep the eyes moving towards the middle of the photo. Once you are there in the middle, then your eyes begin to seek out other elements of the photo and piece together the photograph.


Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


The world renowned photographer Ansel Adams described visualization as:

The ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure.

You will take better photographs when they are more thought out and you are able to predict what the final image will look like prior to you even clicking the shutter.


The edges of your image make up its frame and can either make or break your photograph. Many times new photographers focus on the main subject that they are photographing and do not pay attention to the rest of the stuff in the shot. It is very important as a photographer to make sure that you train yourself to see everything in the frame so that you can eliminate distracting elements of your photograph.

It is difficult for the brain to ignore distracting elements of a photograph, so it is best to try and watch for those distractions prior to taking the photo and take the steps to avoid having them as prominent in the image. This can be done by changing the angle of the shot, changing your focal length, changing your depth of field, and many other techniques.

Fill Your Frame

A lot of photographs contain too much information. This can be a bad thing because the extra subject matter can be distracting from the main subject and add little to no interest to the photo. By choosing to fill the frame with your main subject can lead to a more successful image. So, don't be shy and get close to you subject.


Photo taken by me @derangedvisions



Composition can be thought of as a thoughtful arrangement of Visual Elements. The visual elements can be broken down into three main elements.

  • Line:

Lines can be strait or curved, vertical or horizontal.
The boundary between lighter and darker tones can
define a line. Lines add strength, motion or softness to
an image.

  • Shape:

If an image is enclosed by lines or defined by the
outer boundaries of a tonal value it has shape. Different
shapes evoke different emotional responses.

  • Form:

The three dimensionality of a subject must be implied
since depth can’t be perceived in a two dimensional
photograph. The representation of shadows on the surface
of a subject shows the subjects form.


Photo taken by me @derangedvisions

Fill Your Frame

When I was setting up this shot, I was at a Civil War battle reenactment. I wanted to get as many of the soldiers in frame as I could, but also wanted some of the sky near the top third of the frame because the sky clouds in the sky had a dramatic effect. There are many different lines in the composition that I was trying to pay attention to and work with as I took this picture and I was waiting for all of the "actors" to fall into place.

I wanted the pathway on the right to be on the far right of the frame but keep the berm at the bottom left of the frame and extend across the center of the frame, leading the viewers eyes and while showing all the soldiers that were fighting along the berm. Once I had my composition set, I just waited for everything to fall into place and then the magic happened.

Now it is your turn


I would like you to go out and create 2 photos that showcase what you have learned in this lesson. They can be of whatever subject matter you choose and make a post about that. Take into consideration the information in this lesson when you are taking those pictures. Pay attention to your backgrounds, pay attention to the lines and shapes in your frame.

As you are taking pictures, do not delete the photos that you think do no look good. Keep those images as well, and include them in your post and explain the process that got you from those images to your final images that you chose. I would like you to explain the information that you took away from this lesson and how it will help to benefit you as you continue with your photography.

When you are done, post the link to your post here in the comment section of this post so I can visit your post and check it out and reward you for your efforts. Make sure that you post into the Photography Lovers Community and use the tag #photolessons with your post.

The purpose of this lesson is to help you think more critically about your approach to photography and what your end goal with your photograph will be. There is a lot that goes into creating a good photograph and the only way to get better is to practice and learn as much as possible.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you learned something from this lesson. You are awesome. I am looking forward to seeing what you create.

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