Composition Made Easy, with David Ziser

Join David Ziser as he teaches you how to use an arsenal of on-location composition techniques.

Join David Ziser as he teaches you how to use an arsenal of on-location composition techniques. Go behind the scenes as David shoots a parking garage, private mansion, and corporate buildings and cityscapes. You’ll learn how to recognize and shoot a wide variety of visual elements to create spectacular, one-of-a-kind compositions. David also shares his personal tips and tricks for camera settings, lenses, and lighting gear that are guaranteed to boost your creative photography.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 01:52)

Join David as he introduces the course and goes over the concepts he'll demonstrate through each of the lessons.

Lesson 2: Look for Shapes (Duration 08:26)

Explore your environment to see the shape elements that can be used as complimentary backgrounds for your subject and that work with the lighting you have available.

Lesson 3: Explore the Location (Duration 07:12)

Scout the location before the subject is in position so that you have time to look for the best compositional elements to use in your shot.

Lesson 4: Leading Lines and Shapes (Duration 08:01)

David starts out on the sunny steps using leading lines to create a dynamic composition with Hope as the model before switching to using building shapes to create an executive portrait with Ben (model). Reflectors and off camera flash can be used to layer light on to the subject.

Lesson 5: Playing in an Urban Landscape (Duration 14:51)

Working in an urban landscape gives you the opportunity to play with shapes, patterns, lines and colors.

Lesson 6: Curves and Textures (Duration 06:40)

The curved seats of an ampitheater demonstrate the power of leading lines to draw the viewer's eye to the subject, while in the next scene the texture of moving water adds energy to the composition.

Lesson 7: Repeating Elements (Duration 12:33)

A series of repeating elements can often create a vanishing point within the frame that can be used as a strong compositional tool.

Lesson 8: Reiterate Toward a Photograph (Duration 07:55)

Pay careful attention to all of the elements that are included in the frame, but don't worry about nailing the shot on the first try. Start shooting, refine your lighting, change your position, interact with your subject, and work toward the composition you visualized in your mind's eye.

Lesson 9: Use Light to Improve Composition (Duration 10:33)

The way you light a scene has a big impact on the composition. Watch how David demonstrates how changing the lighting can improve the composition.

Lesson 10: Symmetrical Composition (Duration 10:30)

David wraps up the course with an example of how centering your subject in front of a symmetrical background can create a truly dynamic composition.

Meet Your Instructor: David Ziser

David Ziser, an internationally-renowned wedding photographer, has shared his knowledge with tens of thousand's of photographers in five languages and in 14 countries worldwide. Studio Photography acclaimed "Award winning photographer,…


  1. Really liked the last chapter where we got to "build" the lighting. One of the best videos I have watched on Kelby! David did a great job of pausing before he told us what was "wrong" with some of the shots that allowed us to try and find them ourselves first.

  2. Very good tutorial. I appreciate the fairly detailed explanations about what makes the composition work, as well as examples showing how a composition doesn't work. Lots of additional tips thrown in along the way. I also appreciated the tips relating to positioning the nose relative to the sun so as to obtain proper lighting on the face.

  3. What a great course, for those of us not familiar with basics of art the leading line and composition parts were great. Also great little tip on the beer coozy.

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