Photo Workshop 1: Composition


Photo Workshop 1: Composition

Photo Workshop with YWP Alumni Advisor Kevin Huang

Composition is one of the key elements of photography. It dictates how the subject in the photo is arranged and is also responsible for the photo's narrative. The composition of a photo can draw attention to or away from the subject of the photo. 

One of the composition rules in photography is the rule of thirds. Imagine dividing a photo into nine equal parts using horizontal and vertical lines, forming the rule of thirds grid. In this case, you want your subject in the photo to be focused on one of the corners of the central square. See example one--the top left corner of the central zone is the photo's focal point. Example two and the header image were composed using the rule of thirds. 

Example One
Example One - Santa Monica Pier, CA. Photo by Kevin Huang, YWP Alumni Advisor
Example Two
Example Two - Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. Photo by Kevin Huang, YWP Alumni Advisor

Of course, the rule of thirds is only a guideline, and the "rule" is often purposely broken when photographers want to highlight their subject in a different way. There are many other composition rules or styles, such as golden ratio, fill the space, horizontal lines, etc.

Personally, one of my favorite composition styles is symmetry. This style is very aesthetically pleasing to me and I have a lot of fun framing subjects this way. See examples three and four below.

Example Four
Example Three - South Hero, VT. Photo by Kevin Huang, YWP Alumni Advisor
Example Five
Example Four - Lahore, Pakistan. Photo by Kevin Huang, YWP Alumni Advisor

Things to try:

  • Turn on your camera or phone's rule of third grid settings. This will help you visualize and become familiar with the grid while you take pictures.
  • Take a walk outside and practice taking pictures using the rule of thirds or other composition styles!
  • When shooting a single subject, try taking multiple pictures with different perspectives and using different composition styles. You might find that one style works better than another!


Lastly, have fun with the composition in your pictures. Find one that you like best and keep on practicing!


Header image: Boston, MA. Photo by Kevin Huang, YWP Alumni Advisor

Respond to this workshop with your own creations!