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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 44 of 50

The Horizon Line

Chris Weston

Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

44. The Horizon Line


Class Trailer
1 Your 10,001st Photograph 03:24 2 Camera Gear 03:03 3 Piece of Gear We Always Forget 03:47 4 Be a Storyteller 03:09 5 Finding Ideas For Photography - Know Your Subject 06:59 6 Cae Study - Why Are Zebras Black and White Striped 01:30 7 Photograph What You Love 02:00 8 See the Extraordinary in Ordinary Things 01:31

Lesson Info

The Horizon Line

The Horizon Line is one of the most important compositional elements in a photograph, whether it's an implied line or the actual horizon. At its simplest, it determines eye level now, controlling eye level influences how the viewer relates to the photograph in two ways. First of all, it's shifts emphasis with a low horizon, the eyes of forced look upwards, accentuating the visual elements above the line. For example, in this image, I've placed the horizon in the bottom of the frame toe, emphasize the spectacular sky. When the horizon line is placed high in the frame, it forces the ice to gaze downwards on objects below, the liner emphasized. This is a useful technique for scenes where, for example, the sky is banal because it draws the eye away from the blandness on directs attention onto interest in the foreground. When the horizon line is positioned exactly half way, there's equal weighting have applied this technique in this image, which helps to accentuate the mirroring effect of t...

he water surface. Theo extent, it becomes almost impossible to tell which half Israel on which half is the reflection. I level also affects us psychologically. Dude way psychoanalytical theory known as the adult child relationship. Adults look down towards a child, and they are the dominant party in that relationship, while Children look up adults, making them the subservient participant. Now in adult adult relationship, where both parties are at the same eye level, neither is dominant nor submissive. Instead, the relationship is one of equality, and this psychology spills over into composition on. Beyond directing, our gaze determines the emotional relationship formed twin, the subject on the viewer. For example, if I compose an image from the high eye level looking down on the subject, the viewer becomes the dominant party in the relationship and assumes power over the subject. By changing to a low I level shooting up the subject. The relationship reverses the subject, becomes the dominant party and takes with its superiority. If I change my level again this time so that subject and viewer I toe I neither party dominates and the relationship is one of equality. This is the reason that when photographing my specialist subject wildlife, I almost always shoot. I level. When I want to add visual tension, I might drop eye level to emphasize the animals Dominion. Rarely do I ever give power to the viewer because it makes for a less compelling image. Now none of these impressions are wrong or right. It depends entirely on your story. As the author, you have to decide on the character of your subjects and use eye level to reveal it to your audience.

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.