Skip to main content

Composition Basics

Lesson 1 of 6

Class Introduction

Khara Plicanic

Composition Basics

Khara Plicanic

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:03:44
2 Basic Principles Duration:22:33
3 Techniques Duration:11:52
4 Things to Consider Duration:08:40
5 People & Places Duration:08:40
6 Working the Scene Duration:05:22

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hi, I'm Karapetian it. And welcome to composition basics. When it comes to composition, I think one of the things that people struggle with the most is just being aware of the choices that that you have when you're taking pictures. So our goal for this course is to increase awareness and help you make better choices. Because in the end, composition really is just choices, right? Composing a photo just means choosing what you want. Teoh be in your frame so you have more choices than you might realize. Ah, lot of times people are used to just picking up the camera pointing and shooting, and you get what you get. But the reality is you are crafting a story in your photos, and I wanna help you be able to tell the best story that you can. So let's take a look at some examples. Here is a picture of my son's A and this looks like, Oh, he's so innocent and pure. He's about one year old, so I don't know how true that's a motive at this point, but he looks really innocent and sweet and like he's...

having a nice, pensive moment there, and that was some compositional choices I made that made made that moment look like that. I could have sought that exact same moment like this because this was also happening at the same time, which was he had pulled every book off his bookshelf and made a nice mess on the floor in his room. So the choices that we make when we take photos really determines the story that we're able to tell. And it can very, really dramatically just on a few simple decisions that you make behind the camera. Here's another example of some flowers, and I can tell you that this shot, not a lot of thought, went into it. And sometimes I think I think that's often the case, especially when you're new to photography. You're just not often sure really what you're doing besides aiming the camera in the general direction of your subject. But you might end up then with a shot like this. So I saw two lips and I was like Quick, let's just shoot some tulips. But if I gave it more thought, I can shoot the tulips in the more thoughtful manner and get, I think, a much more powerful results. So that's what we're going to be talking through today. We're gonna talk through it in five basic concepts. I guess we're gonna talk about some basic principles that you can use Teoh to get those better pictures of stronger competition. Then we're going to talk about technique. So how do you How do you employ the principles that we just talked about very specific things that you can dio some fun things you can try that will dramatically improve your images. Then we're going to talk about all right, What do you need to consider? What things do you need to think about when you're behind the camera and you're just making decisions about the type of photo that you want to take? Then we're going to talk about some tips and tricks for photographing people and places. So whether you're taking portrait or landscape, we'll talk through some things that are specific at to those situations and then last but not least, how do we work through a whole scene? So if you're trying to document a specific event or something, how do you make sure that you're getting it all

Class Description

Understanding composition and framing is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get a shareable or printable shot. Knowing where to place your subject so that they are the focus of your images and complemented with the background can help you tell a story in each image. 

 This class will cover:

  • Understanding how to fill the frame and the basic rule of thirds
  • How to work with your subject to direct your composition
  • A variety of options to try when troubleshooting your framing  



Khara does a great job! She is thorough, has a great teaching style, uses fantastic examples of the "snapshot" version and the good version. She is enthusiastic, has wonderful explanations. I'm not a beginner and knew everything she said, but still found the way she put it together interesting. I referred several beginners to her courses. I hope she comes out with more advanced courses.

a Creativelive Student

Too often, I hear budding photographers lament, “My pictures aren’t that great because I don’t have a good camera.” Khara dispels this myth with clear examples taken with her cell phone! Of course, good gear helps; but it’s the skill behind the lens that separates a snapshot from a photograph–not the hardware. One caution, however, with Khara’s explanation of the rule of thirds. It is true that the intersection of the horizontal and vertical third is very powerful. Indeed, it is so powerful that it has a name–a bullseye; and you want to avoid it! Seldom will you see a point of interest on a bullseye in any major work. Near it–maybe; but not on it. When an area of interest, like the eye in a portrait, is on the intersection of the thirds, the viewer’s eye is drawn there and it locks into place. Without anywhere to go, the bored eye moves on to something else. Fledgling photographers (and seasoned professionals!) fall into this trap and it would have been prudent of Khara to warn of this danger. Khara does a great job describing tilt and her bird on a wire photograph is an excellent example of dynamic symmetry. While not exactly in the realm of basic composition, dynamic symmetry a powerful concept to explore once the principles outlined in this course are mastered.