Composition is an essential piece of photography, yet it’s one of the more difficult subjects to grasp. I’ve always believed that only 20% of composition skills can be taught, with the other 80% coming with shooting experience.
In this article I am going to share with you an activity that has single-handedly changed the way I approach photography, and has allowed me to create much more interesting and dynamic compositions. Let’s get after it!
READ OR WATCH: This blog post is also available in video form! If you’d rather watch me explain this content, simply watch the video below. Otherwise you can find the text guide below. Just keep scrolling!
The Composition Activity
50 Shots – 1 subject.
The activity I attribute much of my compositional skills to is what I like to call the 50-to-1 composition exercise. The goal of this exercise is to capture 50 photos of one subject. It might seem simple, but if you do this correctly you will really have to stretch your mind in order to come up with new and interesting angles in which to capture your subject.
The subject you choose to shoot should be very simple in nature. If you choose an object that is too complex, you’ll be able to focus on different parts of that subject and you won’t benefit as much from this activity. Choose something simple and small enough that you can shoot it from any angle. Some items you might consider shooting are a piece of fruit, an empty bowl or glass, a smartphone, a simple cup of coffee, money, etc.
The purpose of this exercise isn’t to capture amazing photos of this subject. Rather, it’s designed to help you think outside the box in order to come up with new ways to capture your subject.
The trick to this exercise is to adjust your perspective as much as you can. Move closer or further from your subject, shoot it from the sides, from below, from above, even upside down! Some of the compositions you capture might not look good, but that’s okay.
This is an interactive activity, and I’d love to see what you come up with! After you capture 50 photos, head over to our Photography Collective Facebook Group and post some of your images in the group using the hashtag #50to1. We’d love to comment on your work!
If you watched the video above, you can see how I captured 50 different photos of a cup of coffee on table. I also share the images in that video. But here are 4 of my favorites from the shoot!
This exercise is great for improving your composition skills, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!