“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams


Hello everyone! I’m excited for our next meeting. This Thursday, when we meet in person, we will be focusing on how to take portraits, using natural lighting. We will go over everything we’ve already learned, and learn how to incorporate it into portraits. Another thing we will discuss on Thursday is beginning to photograph on manual setting. Enjoy this week, because starting next week you will officially be in the driver’s seat of your camera.

Before we meet Thursday, I want to make sure you have a good grasp on composing photographs. Composition is how the elements in your image are arranged. Certain arrangements of these elements are perceived as more appealing to the human mind, therefore artists came up with a few guidelines to help create those appealing arrangements. Remember, these are more of a guide. Don’t stress being overly precise.


The rules of thirds, is simply dividing your frame into three equal parts vertically and horizontally. There are several ways you can use this division to create stunning photography.

1. Arrange your focal point on the intersections.

Imagine dividing your photograph into three equal parts vertically then again horizontally. You you will end up with these four spots where the lines intersect. These are ideal places for your focal point or main subject. When you look trough the viewfinder, some cameras have a small grid that is view-able. Use this as a guide when photographing or simply imagine that grid. 


Can you tell which intersections the photographers chose for the images below?

bubbles, grass, reflection, outdoors

daisy, daisies, flowers, butterfly, nature, garden

One thing you will notice with this composition is the heavy use of the Element of Art, negative space (like we talked about in Week 3 Images). Photographers will use the aperture in their camera to blur out the background, or photograph on a somewhat consistent background to create negative space around the focal point.

2. When photographing landscapes, compose the horizon line on one of the grid-lines.


You may find the sky more interesting, thereby placing the horizon close to the bottom 1/3 of the frame like this image below:

orange, sky, sunset, dusk, ocean, sea, lake, water, landscape, horizon, cliff, coast, lighthouse

But… if you want to focus on what is happening below the horizon, you should place the horizon on on the top 1/3 grid line, like this image:

boat, ship, ocean, sea, water, coast, horizon, sunset, dusk, sky, landscape

3. Compose your subject to the left or right section of the grid.

girl, woman, iphone, picture, photographer, photography, plants, flowers, nature, sunset, dusk, sky, summer, clouds, silhouette, summer

When you follow the rules of thirds, it is important to consider which 1/3 you are going to fill. If someone is looking to the right, you don’t want to place them on the right 1/3 of the frame. It makes more sense to your mind, when you know where the subject is going, or what it’s looking at. Make sure to leave space in the direction your subject is interacting. You will notice this often when cars are photographed, the photographer will leave space in front of the car to show where it is going. The same is said for runners, or children playing. In the image below the woman is looking to the right, so the photographer left space to the right.

girl, woman, looking, thinking, brunette, people

Do you see why the car is positioned on the right?

Fiat, 500, car, vintage, Italy, street, road, oldschool


In 1200 A.D, Leonardo Fibonacci developed a law that is commonly known as The Golden Ratio, also known as the Golden Mean, Phi, or Divine Proportion. Fibonacci discovered a ratio that appears often in nature. This ratio was commonly used in Renaissance art including famous works such as the “Mona Lisa” and the “Last Supper”. There are two ways you can use this ratio to create beautiful work.

1. Spiral

The ratio is 1:1.618. Basically the frame is divided using the 1:1.618 ratio. The smaller ratio is then divided again into the 1:1.618. This happens again and again to create a spiral that pulls your viewer into the frame. You will see this countless times art.

2. Grid

This same ratio is used in grid form too. In the rule of thirds the grid ratio is 1:1:1. With the golden ratio, the grid becomes 1:.618:1. Simply put, the center area of the grid is thinner than the top and bottom. This works vertically too.




Another take on the golden ratio, is to divide your image into triangles. You first divide your frame from one corner to the next. Then, divide one of the triangles, making sure to connect the line resulting in two right angles. 


WEEK 5 ASSIGNMENT #1 – Composition

This week I want you to continue photographing on “A” (some cameras are “Av”) or aperture priority setting. I want you to feel comfortable with both shutter speed and aperture before we meet this Thursday.

This week, compose a photograph following one of the compositions I’ve outlined above: The Rule of Thirds, Golden Ratio, Golden Triangles. Focus on aperture when doing this. Try capturing several shots of each composition using various apertures resulting in various depth of fields. Once you get it on the computer and see which aperture looks the nicest, send me your favorite one.

You may send me up to 5 of your favorite compositions.

WEEK 5 ASSIGNMENT #2 – Critique

Complete the critique prompt for week 4


DUE: November 5, 2015