Skip to main content

Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 45 of 50

Should the Horizon Line Always be Straight and Level


Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 45 of 50

Should the Horizon Line Always be Straight and Level


Lesson Info

Should the Horizon Line Always be Straight and Level

one of the most debated questions in photography is. Should the horizon line always be straightened level? I don't want to that question. I'm going flying a straightened level Horizon is out primordial point of reference. When we're lost, we seek the horizon to help tell us where we are and when we find it, we're overwhelmed with comments. This'll, calmness crosses into the photograph. A photograph with a straightened level horizon evokes feelings of serenity, Peacefulness and tranquility. And if that's your aim, which in a genre such as landscape photography, it almost always is then, yes, the horizon should be straight and level. But what if you don't want your image to have a calm energy? What if you want to create tension by changing the angle of the horizon? I could change the energy of the photograph, as we can see in the two images I've just taken in the first image. The energy is passive, almost static. The feeling is your in the cockpit of a biplane. Flying steadily, is tranqu...

il. There's no rush. You're calm and peaceful. Now let's take a look at the second image. How do you feel now? The speed has changed your flying faster. The plane is banking hard, right? The visual energy in this picture is much more intense. There's tension and a distinct edginess to the composition. So what changed? The truth is nothing changed. The two images were taken moments apart. The plane was flying at the same speed on the same course. Straightened level. Even the camera settings were exactly the same. The only difference in the taking of these two images was for the second image. I tilted the camera by around 20 degrees to slam the horizon. It's a tiny change in perspective, for the difference it makes to The image is immense. 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.