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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 14 of 50

Ansel Adams and Visualisation in Practice


Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 14 of 50

Ansel Adams and Visualisation in Practice


Lesson Info

Ansel Adams and Visualisation in Practice

Ansel Adams is widely considered the great grandfather of landscape photography and the pioneer of the process and technique of visualization. And, as we talk now in photography, speak of the external event, which is, we'll call it scenery. It's for everything that happens outside time and space and people killed Zap Samp snap recording things for their own memory in the future, and contrasting with that in the creative work is the internal event that happens inside your mind when you when you see the photograph, Stiglitz had said. Someone asked you about what is create pretty photograph, he said. I'm really go out into the world. I want to make a photograph. I come across something that excites me. I see the picture in my mind's eye and I make the photograph and then I give it to you is the equivalent of what I saw and felt The whole key lives very specifically in seeing into the mind's eye, which we call visualizations. Visualization is a technique you can use to consciously decide o...

n aspects of your intended photograph before committing image to sensor or film. It includes determining the main point of interest in this case, the castle and then mentally entering a space to connect, not just with the objects in the frame, but also the ambiance of the whole scene. In other words, you have to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings as well as the visual inputs of the physical aspects of the scene. From this place of mindfulness, you can decide what to include in the frame on what to leave out. You can decide on things like exposure not just technically, but also compositionally. For example, do you want to create a dark, foreboding image, heavy on atmosphere or a brighter image that's warmer and more welcoming? The answer is determined as much by your mood is by the objects in the scene, and this is all part of the visual ization process now putting this into practice As an example, I found an old book of pencil drawings that depict Bambara as it was 150 years ago. As you can see, although the landscape has changed considerably, the atmosphere of the place is the same. To me, it feels wild, stormy and isolated in the photograph on gun decorated. Those feelings I want to reveal and I'm going to use the objects in the scene. The castle wind bentgrass is the texture of the sound to do that in a way that Ansel Adams described as turning visual symbols into an emotional response. And when we look at the image, the senses one of abstract quality of the essence of the place rather than the semblance of objects the visual symbols Adams refers to are the basic elements of design, line, shape, color, pattern and texture. And the reason they're important in composition is the physiological and psychological effect they have on the viewer, which is a subject of Module five. Next, though, I'm going to show you a technique. I use a lot when I want to be more spontaneous with my photography.

Class Description



  • Compose a shot consistently and effectively
  • Create artistic, powerful images quickly
  • Gain confidence in building narrative
  • Identify what stories you’re drawn to photograph
  • Brainstorm and develop concepts for creative shots
  • Trust your instincts when approaching a subject


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course. This is the second class in the series.

Today, everybody has a camera, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s a photographer. Chris Weston will show you how to do all the other stuff – how to “see” an image, tap into your creativity, and compose a photograph that makes the subject look as good in print as it does in real life.

This class isn’t about cameras, it’s about you – the photographer. It will break free your creative mind, get you thinking about narrative rather than object, and show you how to apply simple artistic skills that turn that next click into a powerful photograph.

Learn how to approach photography like a pro and start creating great pictures straight away. With in-the-field lessons, case studies and powerful tips and techniques, you’ll quickly unleash your creativity and gain confidence in expressing yourself through your camera.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer who wants to hone their artistic skills


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


Silvia Garcia

Excellent ! Will see it many times to digest all the messages here. Important info on composition theory. Very well explained. Go to the essence of photography. Thanks, Chris !

a Creativelive Student

Absolute must to watch! Perhaps few times, as is packed with all the information you need to know to make your photography to the next level. I think it is the most comprehensive class on composition. Fantastic!


fabulous course no matter how advanced you are.. LEarned so much from it. I'll watch it again as it contains so much.