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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 45 of 50

Should the Horizon Line Always be Straight and Level

Chris Weston

Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

45. Should the Horizon Line Always be Straight and Level


Class Trailer

Your 10,001st Photograph


Camera Gear


Piece of Gear We Always Forget


Be a Storyteller


Finding Ideas For Photography - Know Your Subject


Cae Study - Why Are Zebras Black and White Striped


Photograph What You Love


See the Extraordinary in Ordinary Things


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.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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.