Understanding Compositions From the Field

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Duration: 9:21

As a photography instructor, Outdoor Photography Guide’s pro shooter David Johnston gets a lot of questions. One big question is “How do I get good photo compositions?” In this premium video lesson you will learn how David analyzes his own photo compositions and how he goes about editing and making adjustments. By way of example, he will help you improve your own compositions.

David begins the process by editing two of his recent photo compositions of landscapes and explains what he did right and wrong. The first photo is a wide angle image of a waterfall scene in the woods. Using the rule of thirds foundation, he shows you how he organized this composition, with natural elements balancing top and bottom, left and right. This is how you begin the framework in creating your own photo compositions.

Next, David explains the visual flow, in this case, how the water flows through the photograph in order to control the viewer’s perspective. Finally, there is the concept of balance, awareness that the viewer goes to the brightest parts of an image first, white waterfalls, sunlight forest, and then dark rocks.

The second of David’s photo compositions is a vast vista of sand dunes, early sunlight creating golden stripes over crests and valleys. This image is again broken down into the rule of thirds, the top line running over the horizon, the bottom line dissecting a brightly lighted dune. Yet he breaks the rule of thirds by placing his main subject, the peak, toward the top of the frame. Why? It feels right. He also discusses the use of negative space in photo compositions, an overexposed sky or a dark shadow.

In this premium video Outdoor Photography Guide’s David Johnston takes you through techniques to analyze, direct and reframe your photo compositions. If you take your time with the fundamentals, you will like the results.