10. Composition

By just applying a few basic composition techniques your photographs can leap from ordinary to outstanding! In this photography class Karl explains composition and how it is vital when it comes to creating great images.

Karl takes you through some photos that he has previously shot and explains how and why the composition in them works by testing them against ideas such as the rule of thirds.

On top of this Karl also takes you along on one final photo shoot and explains how he works out the composition of the shot to create an aesthetically pleasing image with leading lines, layers, depth and balance in the image.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • How to compose a good photograph
  • The rule of thirds explained
  • Compositional elements: leading lines, layers and depth
  • How to create three dimensionality in an image
  • Using studio lights on location

To learn more about using studio flash, visit our Portrait section. You might also find our Photography Quick Start Guide useful.

If you have any questions about this class, please post them in the comments section below.

NOTE: This course is available with subtitles.


  1. Fantastic and simple lessons that immediately make sense and are therefore remembered! Terrific, thanks Karl.

    I appreciate you advise that the use of flash is another lesson, which i’ll look forward to, I’m intrigued as to how you maintained the shadows from both the model and the metal railing whilst using such huge flash units? And could you use reflectors to achieve the same effect?

    1. Hi and thank you, the shadows are from the sunlight and are necessary to keep a realistic ‘daylight’ scene. The flash units power is variable as you will learn later in our modules, the majority of the flash is also directed at the model and not lower down.

  2. HI karl1
    why did you use 2 heads strobes? Almost side by side, Instead 1?

  3. Hi Karl

    I’ve been subscribed to your learning programme for only a short time now, but I’ve learned more than I could have imagined when I signed up. Also, it has consolidated some of what I knew from past experience with the camera, whilst exposing some of the bad habits.

    The biggest single thing you are doing for me is to show me not to fear the camera, or fear what I don’t know, or what the eventual outcome of this learning process will be. I think that my biggest fear has been that I might discover that I am no good at photography, and how disappointing such a realisation would be. This fear has left me, and has been replaced with curiosity for what can be done, and an ability to simply enjoy the passion I have for the photographic experience.

    Thank you, I’m truly enjoying the ride – I hope to remain a subscriber for years to come.

  4. The Fibonacci Sequence is another composition rule I have seen but it takes some setting up but it is found in nature. It`s a bit high brow!

  5. Hi Karl,

    I very much enjoy your relaxed but authoritative delivery in these introductory-level videos, and their high production values make absorbing all of the concisely presented essential information a very easy, appealing and inspirational process.

    All good!

  6. I watched most of the videos on the facebook and decided to join the program, it’s a great guide for me. One day, I am hoping to find a chance to visit the studio and experience the production in person.

  7. Hi can ask when you are shooting in manual mode do you use auto focus or manual focus too

    1. Hi Farren, you can still use AF if shooting in Manual mode but I do often shoot in manual focus depending on the subject and circumstances for example still life in the studio or landscapes.

  8. Hey Karl,

    Browsing through your videos and looking to see what would make you chose the Canon over the X1D (I own both as well) rather than the obvious need for HSS vs high FPS, and this one confused me a bit, did you have the X1D when shooting this one?

    1. Hi Meir, no this is long before the X1D! I’d choose the X1D mainly for quality of image reproduction but they are not as swift to use as a Canon.

  9. Really good stuff here, Karl. I’m happy to be able to take all the information you’re sharing and, with it, reorganize my act of thinking about photography. You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had. Wish I could’ve found your work sooner. Cheers from Brazil.

  10. why you use silver black umbrella here or instead we use white umbrella direct to the model face.? or we use skimmer and put light behinds the skimmer.? expain the diffrence… please..

    1. Hi Jaspreet, the silver brolly gives a higher contrast and more sparkle which I find better for textiles and the look I wanted to achieve here. For example a Para 133 compared to the same size softbox still has a soft look but it has more contrast and 3-dimensionality to the light.

  11. This is hands down the most value for money purchase I have EVER made. Thank you Karl and the KTE team.

  12. you’re very good at what you do Karl that’s why your name engraved in my head when people speak of great photographers, I picked up this hobby not so long ago and now I can see myself actually making a career out of it. not going to school for photography might put some doubt in people head but saying Karl Taylor my mentor might balanced that. thank you!

  13. Excellent videos so far! I feel like I’m learning so much in so little time. Compared to other videos I’ve seen, Karl gets straight to the point in a well organized manner without over complicating things. I will recommend this to anyone wanting to learn photography.

    1. Thank you Josheph we appreciate that, the more recommendations we get and members then the better we can make the service for everyone!

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