Photo Composition

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I am so excited to share this weeks photo challenge from No Bad Foto with you all! Because the next few lessons are so short, the Photo Ladies decided to move up our lessons to every week instead of every two weeks.  I’m hoping that this will keep me on my toes more, and that I’ll end up using my camera more often instead of waiting until the last minute to get the lessons done.

Chris and I took a quick road trip down to Disney last weekend, and I was excited to use the opportunity to try all the techniques I’ve learned on different scenes in the parks.  Out of two days, I came home with almost 1,200 pictures.  A crazy amount, and only half are useable. But, I was able to test out the techniques I’ve learned though this class and I was really happy with the results.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Disney's Magic Kingdom f/stop: 4.5 Exposure: 1/1000 ISO: 400 mode: Manual Lens: 20mm
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
f/stop: 4.5
Exposure: 1/1000
ISO: 100
mode: Aperture Priority Mode
Lens: 20mm

This week was all about photo composition.  After reading Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition by Bryan Peterson and starting The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, I got really excited to take my camera out and start using everything I learned.  Those books, combined with all that I’ve learned from No Bad Foto, have been incredibly helpful in the ways that I shoot and set up scenes.

Tiki Torches at Disney's Magic Kingdom f/stop: 2.8 shutter speed: 30 seconds ISO: 100 mode: Manual Lens: 20mm f/2.8
Tiki Torches at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
f/stop: 2.8
shutter speed: 30 seconds
ISO: 100
mode: Manual
Lens: 20mm f/2.8

Composition is all about telling a story with your picture.  In order to take a great picture though, you need to know what to look for and how to see beautiful scenes that are all around you.  No Bad Foto gave us three easy steps to get started composing better pictures today.

  1. Tell a story.  What is the idea behind your photo?  What is your theme or subject matter?
  2. Emphasize your story.  Does your photo convey the message you want it to?
  3. Simplify your scene.  Take out all the distracting elements of the scene and focus only on the elements you wish to convey.

If you use the above tips every time you take a photo, chances are you’ll get great shots. Your photos will be more visually appealing as well.

Coronado Springs Resort Lobby f/stop: 1/40 shutter speed: ISO: 200 mode: Manual Lens: 20mm f/2.8
Coronado Springs Resort Lobby
f/stop: 1/40
shutter speed:
ISO: 200
mode: Manual
Lens: 20mm f/2.8

What I really loved about this composition lesson is that it challenged me to think about the message I was sending with my photos and what the best way was to convey that message.  Since I was using my wide angle lens 99% of the time I had to get creative with a few of my shots.  Not be afraid to sit on the ground and look up, get close to a subject, or go wide resulted in some of my favorite pictures that I’ve ever taken at Disney.

Spaceship Earth at Disney's Epcot f/stop: f/8 shutter speed: 10 seconds ISO: 100 Mode: Aperture Priority Mode Lens: 20mm f/2.8
Spaceship Earth at Disney’s Epcot
f/stop: f/8
shutter speed: 10 seconds
ISO: 100
Mode: Aperture Priority Mode
Lens: 20mm f/2.8

I am really loving these lessons!  I feel like I’ve learned so much already, and I’m even more in love with my camera now than I was when I got it!

If you want to see more of my Disney Photography, you can find it here.  And if you’re participating in the photo challenge and like to write about it on your blog, don’t forget to link up your post below!

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What do you think?

What are some of your favorite shots to take?  Wide, close-up, or looking upwards?  I love all three!

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9 Comments

  1. I looove composition! It’s honestly one of the best things you can learn about in photography and it makes your pictures so much better! Is your 20mm a prime lens? I am trying to figure out what lenses I want to rent for the weddings I’m shooting this summer. I rented an 85mm for this weekend’s engagement shoot and I’m really curious to see how I like it!

    1. Me too! Composition has been the most fun (for me) to learn and I really love the books I’ve bought that really go into detail about the subject. My 20mm is a prime lens! It’s honestly my favorite lens to shoot with, although I still need to work on how to get amazing shots in low light situations since the aperture settings are small on it. I am so curious to hear about your experience with the 85mm lens after this weekend! Do you usually rent a lens before you buy it? I was thinking of renting a lens (or two) while down at Disney in June but I’m not sure if it’s worth it.

    1. Thank you, Nadeem! I took a class a while back and had a lot of fun! I hope you’re able to take one some day. 🙂

  2. Great post, Teresa! I’m finally getting caught up on our May lessons, but had to comment on how much I LOVE your photo of the tiki posts at the Magic Kingdom. I see your shutter speed was 30 seconds for that one which really makes for remarkable lighting. I would assume you had your tripod with you on the trip. What fun!

    1. Thank you, Carrie! I really love that photo too. I’ve found (especially at Disney World) I have much better luck capturing all the colors of the buildings/architecture if I use a longer exposure. And yes, I always bring my tripod for night shots! It definitely comes in handy.

      I can’t wait to see all your pictures from the lessons this month!

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