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Week One: Composition


Welcome to the first edition of Release the Shutter: Automotive Photography for Beginners! Every week, I’ll be sharing insider knowledge to help beginners excel in their photography. Each week will also include a challenge having to do with that week’s lesson. In order to get the most out of your learning, I highly encourage you to do the challenge every week. It will help you grow as a photographer, and posting the results of each week’s challenge will give you the opportunity to discuss, learn from, and collaborate with your fellow students! 


To kick off your learning, I want to talk about photo composition - the reason photos make us feel the way they do. The reason we have favourites, as well as photos that make us uncomfortable. The reason why they say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words!’  


The definition of composition is the nature of something's ingredients or constituents. Composition in photography is how an image is laid out or 'built' based on the rules of photography. 


There are 8 rules of photography to help you develop a well composed photo. 


These rules are: 


  1. the rule of thirds 

  2. don’t cut off limbs

  3. use frames

  4. leading lines

  5. watch the background

  6. look for symmetry 

  7. create depth 

  8. simplify.


Composition is vital when it comes to photography. A well positioned subject, fully in frame, with room for movement and action come together to create an image that captures attention and invokes emotion. 


You don’t have to follow all of the rules, all of the time - and plus, sometimes rules are fun to break!  But I’d like you to have a good understanding of each of the rules so that you can use them as you see fit when you're taking car photos. 


Think of a car photo you’ve seen from your favourite automotive manufacturer. Every aspect of that photo's composition contributes to the way the photo makes you feel  and how much you enjoy the image. 


Look at the photo of the Porsche 911 below. Of course you don't look at this photo and see rules being followed. You look at this photo and feel like you’re in the scene: in the Porsche, winding through rolling hills, dust flying all around you, wind ripping through your hair. Freedom, exhilaration, ecstasy - a well composed photo invites you into the scene to experience the scenery, feel what it’s like to be there. Using the rules of photography will help you achieve this every time! 


In the coming weeks, we’ll be digging into the rules of photography.  Once you understand the rules, you can use them to nail your ultimate automotive pics. 


For now, I just want you to start thinking about how your favourite images of your favorite cars make you feel.


Week 1 Challenge


Find a favourite photo you've shot of a car and post it here. Tell me about all the reasons it's your favourite image. Explain what emotions you were trying to invoke. 

 Share your photo tagged #releasetheshutterchallenge to our Facebook group here @automotivephotographyeducationRTS


I’m stoked to see your images, and to hear why they’re your favourites! See you next week! 

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