Hello!

Today we are going to focus on Composition. This is such an important thing to learn about and practise because if you can do it well you really can create beautiful images with whatever camera you have. 

Please use these two weeks to practise your composition and share your images in the Facebook Group. 

Emily

 
 
 
 

Today's is a three-part lesson for you to take at your own pace over the next two days. I'm really enjoying seeing what everyone is posting in the Facebook group, so even if you have something that you feel is imperfect it's great to use the privacy and shared support of the others to help improve your efforts.

Have fun and let yourself make some mistakes! xo

 
 

When you compose an image it is really important to start by thinking about why you are taking the photograph.

  • What are you trying to say?
  • What is the subject?
  • What is the story?

This doesn't have to be deep and meaningful, it can be as simple as "blue sky", "Autumn leaves", "pretty pink things!" But you do need to start somewhere.

Is the subject of your photograph one thing or is everything in the image important? For example you might be taking a photograph of a vase of flowers on a table or a flat lay of all the new products you have in your shop.

In the first example the vase of flowers is the subject but there might be other things in the photograph that are not as important. In the second example everything is probably important, so your subject is the whole image. 

 
 

Rule of Thirds

As you start to think about your image in a bit more detail you can make decisions about where to place the subject (or subjects) in the image. You might have heard about the rule of thirds and some of you will have the grid up on your camera phone, so that you can see it when you take a photograph.

If you haven't, turn the grid on as it will really help you to frame your images and place your subject is a good place. On an iPhone you do this in the settings. Other phones will vary, so please shout if you can't work out how to do this. You will be able to set the grid option on your cameras too and you can usually see it when you look through the view finder. 

 
 

The grid enables you to think of your image in thirds. By placing your subject in one of the thirds you create a balanced image that makes our eyes happy!

For a long time, photographers will have told you that it's usually a good idea to aim to have your "subject" line up at one of the four points in the image above. That makes sense when you're starting out, so today, try to experiment with that method.

It also helps you to create images that are a bit more interesting. By placing your subject to one side, for example. 

 
 

Turn your grids on, find a simple subject and take some different images of it. Really thinking about where you position it in the grid. If you want to share some in our Facebook Group that would be lovely! Have a think about which ones you like best. Do some make you feel differently? Can you create a feeling simply from where you place your subject in the frame? 

Also take a look at some images on Pinterest or in a book or magazine and really look at the composition. Where is the subject? Can you see the image in terms of thirds? By looking at other images in this way it will really help you when you come to compose your own images. 

 

 
 

What your place your subject on or in front of is an important part of creating an image. It helps with developing your style, telling a story, adding another layer to your images and creating a mood. 

There are lots of ways you can create backgrounds for vignettes for Instagram. For example you can use large sheets of card from an art shop for white, black, grey or other colours that you might like. Wrapping paper works really well as a backdrop either for a flat lay or to tap up on the wall like wallpaper. And it's so easy to find and affordable. It is also a great way to bring in different seasons into your images. Old wood is a very favourite background of mine.

I'm now lucky enough to have an old wooden table in my studio but I also have pieces of old wood that I have rescued from skips that I use. The more battered and worn the better. New wood just doesn't have the same feeling to it. Fabric is wonderful too and I especially love linens. 

If you are taking portraits outside (or indeed inside) it's also really important to think about the background. I am always looking for old doors, lovely fences full of ivy, beautiful rows of trees, wild flower meadows etc. Endless possibilities once you start thinking about it but it is so important to be aware of the background as much as the foreground in all the images that you take. This is really important to think about if you are taking model shots of the things you've made as the background will really help you make beautiful images. 

Here are the same dried flowers on different backgrounds, so that you can see the difference a background makes to an image. 

 
 
Some more inspiration for backgrounds and how important they are. 
 
 

Have a look around your home for things that you could use as backgrounds and gather a few together to experiment with.

I'd love to see some results in the Facebook Group! xo