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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 30 of 50



Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 30 of 50



Lesson Info


I'm going to conduct a little experiment. Close your eyes. Now imagine running your right hand over a rough stone. Now imagine running your other hand over a slab of perfectly smooth marble. Okay, you can open your eyes. Did you notice how your mind responded differently? The two imaginary experiences? Well, the same thing happens when we look at a photograph. Our mind imagines the feeling of texture present in the image, and the body responds. Physiologically texture is a powerful visual tour. In eliciting an emotional response, the texture of this sultry is almost palpable. Repeat the little experiment we've just done. An imagine running your hand over the bark. You surely feel its roughness is. It rubs against your skin when you prepare to take a photograph. All of your senses, consciously or otherwise, are working to inform you how you feel about the scene you're photographing. The problem with the photograph is at face value. It works on a one dimensional visual level. Only the in...

put from the other senses hearing taste, smell and touch is lost. Unless, that is, you use visual tools to bring them back. And that's what's happening in this image. Light contrast, color and framing are all working to divulge a visual sense of touch. I've used a tight crop to show just a small section of the tree, and this focuses your attention on the bark, which is the vehicle for my story. While sidelight, it creates tiny shadows that reveal every nook and cranny, creating a very real sense of texture. The camera gives you a visual representation of texture, but if you print your photographs, you can also add a physical dimension for your choice of paper. Photographic inkjet paper comes in many varieties, from smooth gloss or satin through Matt, the heavily textured art papers. By matching paper and subject, you can enhance the impression the final print makes on the viewer. Now it's difficult for me to show you the difference on the computer or TV screen, but as an example, an image of tree bark will become multi dimensional wind printed on textured paper. Compared to say, satin is another part of the photographic process, and it's this attention to the little details that helps raise your photography to a higher level

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.