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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 17 of 50

Don’t Tell the Same Old Story


Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 17 of 50

Don’t Tell the Same Old Story


Lesson Info

Don’t Tell the Same Old Story

Have you ever watched 24 hour news? If you have, you almost certainly never watched it for 24 hours straight because the one thing you learn by watching 24 hour news is interesting. New events don't happen every hour of the day. Instead, what you get is the same old story repeated over and over simply to fill air time. And it's boring. And the same applies to a photograph of the three elements every photograph should have. The first is it has to be interesting. That's to say it has to depict something completely new. Or it has to reveal a new angle on the familiar subject. Now, 100 years ago, when photography itself was new and people traveled rarely, there were lots of new things to photograph, so every picture was interesting. But in today's world, where over a 1,000,000,000 pictures are uploaded to the Internet every day, finding something new to photograph is much harder. Most of the time, you're left looking for a new perspective on subjects have been photographed many times befor...

e. This is Poland Bill, one of the most photographed light houses in the UK. Most of those pictures look much like this postcard shots, so I've set myself a challenge to tell a different story. The thing about light houses is most people see them during the day, but really they come into their own at night as navigational aids on a warning to shipping of hazardous stretches of coast. And it's these associations these stories I wanted to tell in the photographs. Now, when the sun's on the blink is a great time for silhouettes. But what I really wanted was a clear night sky because we associate navigation with stars one way to effectively tone my stories to create an image where the sky plays a key part in the composition, using either a long exposure to capture start trials or a blending technique that is combining two or more images to capture the Milky Way. The other thing I love about Portland Lighthouse is the way the light pulses through the night sky as it rotates on its Mercury base. For me, this tells the story of a lighthouse is a beacon reaching out to distant ships and weary sailors, and this image is a timely shot because Portland Bill will soon lose its fame lantern which is being replaced by modern led ease. So this is also an image for posterity, a reminder to future generations of how light houses used to be no.

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.