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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 43 of 50

Positioning the Subject - Dynamic Symmetry

Chris Weston

Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

43. Positioning the Subject - Dynamic Symmetry


  Class Trailer
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1 Your 10,001st Photograph Duration:03:24
2 Camera Gear Duration:03:03
4 Be a Storyteller Duration:03:09
7 Photograph What You Love Duration:02:00
9 Have an Opinion Duration:01:46
10 See With a Child’s Eyes Duration:02:34
11 Tell Your Story Duration:08:46
12 Find a Needle in the Haystack Duration:01:38
16 Case Study - The Maternal Bond Duration:02:42
18 Relevance Duration:01:06
19 #1 Reason Photographs Fail Duration:02:57
20 Getting Rid of Clutter Duration:03:59
21 Post Capture Cropping Duration:02:04
22 The Elements of Design Duration:02:31
23 Elements of Design Duration:01:38
24 Elements of Design - Shape Duration:02:21
25 Case Study - Shape Duration:02:11
26 Elements of Design - Color Duration:01:55
27 Case Study - Color Duration:01:50
28 Color in Camera Duration:01:42
29 Pattern Duration:01:54
30 Texture Duration:02:24
31 Seeing The Elements of Design Duration:08:52
32 Gestalt Theory Duration:05:10
33 Case Study - Cove Duration:01:36
34 Case Study - Hat Duration:02:09
35 Light and Contrast Duration:01:54
36 Light and Form Duration:01:26
37 Light and Depth Duration:03:48
38 Perspective Duration:02:28
39 Lenses and Perspective Duration:02:47
40 Rule of Thirds Duration:02:48
41 Centre of Frame Duration:01:36
44 The Horizon Line Duration:02:52
46 Other Lines Duration:04:57
48 Negative Space Duration:02:29
50 Training the Mind Duration:04:26

Lesson Info

Positioning the Subject - Dynamic Symmetry

for the past couple of lessons, I've been alluding to a tool that will elevate your composition skills to new levels. Now's the time to reveal dynamic symmetry. Study any of the great artist you'll find dynamic symmetry sits at the center of their work. Compared to simple center on rule of thirds, positioning is a more powerful structure on which the hang the visual elements in your scene because it elevates unity, balance and visual impact, bringing you closer to representing the free dimensional world in your two dimensional photograph. Now, like the rule of thirds dynamic symmetry, is based on a grid system called an armature is the makeup of the armature that's different, the image spaces divided first by two diagonal lines, cutting across from corner to corner. These are the primary diagonals and in the art world are referred to as the Barac diagonal on the sinister diagonal four secondary diagonals air, then drawn, intersecting the Barach and sinister diagonals at an angle of de...

grees. At the intersection of the primary and secondary diagonals, we draw four straight lines to vertical and two horizontal. What we end up with is a grid system that's more complex, more detailed and far more dynamic than the simple reduced in the rule of thirds. Now I get that at first glance, this is all a bit confusing. And while it's relatively easy to imagine the rule of thirds grid and in fact most cameras can display an Elektronik rule of thirds grid, you can switch on in the menu. Right now, it seems impossible to envisage this Spider's web of lines in the same way so quick. Tip, using a screen protector, draw the great onto it. Then, in live you or playback modes you can view the scene in relation to the armature is not perfect, but is a good start and a great way to practice and talking of practice. Here's my scene. A classic landscape of what John the cameraman will tell you is my favorite lighthouse, Portland Bill on the Jurassic Coast. Endorse it now, the reason that John jokes This is my favorite lighthouses because it's where I always end up and it's here. I shot what has become one of my favorite images. We've got the lighthouse in the distance, some buildings, the local face, some rocks and the sea. When we overlay the dynamic symmetry armature. You'll understand why the composition works so well. The line paraded by the surf starting in the left corner perfectly follows a Barac diagonal, which also cuts through the centre of the image and connect with the distant buildings. The diagonal lines in the cliff face followed the sinister diagonal and lead directly to the point of interest. The lighthouse. The convergence of these two lines sits on the stone, which gives you a place to step into. You're now no longer just looking. You're immersed. The lighthouse itself sits on a polar point, which gives it emphasis on draws your eye back into the frame, which is created by the rectangle implied by the four polar points holding you in the space. Now this is a powerful example of how working with dynamic symmetry, using the grid to find the perfect camera position and using all the visual elements, not just the obvious ones, leads to creating close to the perfect picture. 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.


Edmund Cheung

Perhaps the style of presentation and simple, short, and direct messaging does not "jive" with some; but others may really love this. Yes the production of each episode is stylized and perhaps a bit formal (like a TV Show?), but there is something to be said about it. Perhaps this is not meant for professional photographers? I think of myself as decent amateur / high level photographer. I found lots of great nuggets of wisdom and inspiration from this. Especially when I an in a rut for creativity. Yes I have heard all these concepts and ideas before. BUT it is always great to hear and see a different way of presentation and voice. Please do NOT take the naysayer reviews as the end all. You should judge for yourself and watch a few episodes. If the style and content click for you, I would highly recommend this course.

Kai Atherton

While I am perhaps more advanced in my photography then this course. It is always great to be able to go back to fundamentals and remind ourselves of the basic principles, and even camera function. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and Chris's other. It is a great motivational jumpstart when lacking fresh creative idea's.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering the art of photography ) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.