Crush The Composition, with Scott Kelby

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 07:22)

Most classes and books on photography composition contain the same information they did 25 years ago. The rules don't change and most books only show great examples of photography without showing you how to apply it to your photography. In the next hour, Scott plans to change that.

Lesson 2: The 5 BIG Rules of Composition (Duration 05:05)

Scott takes 5 minutes to go over the 5 main "rules" of photographic composition to refresh everyone's memory before moving on.

Lesson 3: The First Secret to Composition (Duration 13:41)

Secret #1: "Work the Scene." Professionals try a bunch of different things during a shoot. By sharing some less than perfect shots, Scott shows the audience how he tried several different things at a photo shoot until he got the shot he wanted. Tip: Make a shot list.

Lesson 4: Finding the Right Shot (Duration 07:59)

Many times, you'll happen upon something that you inherently know will make a good shot, but when you press the button - not so much. Scott shares more examples of the multiple angles and approaches he takes to one subject in order to find what it was that his mind knew would be a good shot.

Lesson 5: Working the Settings to Get the Right Shot (Duration 11:05)

Once you get to the point where you know you are hitting on the angle or approach that makes the shot, work the settings (#2) then work the sharpness (#3).

Lesson 6: Practical Composition Tips (Duration 05:16)

Find the distracting things, simplify the image, move the photographer.

Lesson 7: Becoming a Good Editor (Duration 25:57)

Learn to only show your absolute best stuff. Scott illustrates this by showing two very similar, but drastically different slide shows.

Lesson 8: Looking at Other Photographers Work (Duration 12:41)

Take a good look at the work of the photographers you like and figure out what it is that you like. It will give you insights to your own work.

Lesson 9: Recap of the Keys to Composition (Duration 05:15)

Scott gives you a quick list of takeaways for you to keep in mind for the next time you shoot.

Meet Your Instructor: Scott Kelby

Scott is the President and CEO of KelbyOne, is also the original “Photoshop Guy”, is the Cofounder and CEO of Kelby Media Group, the editor and publisher of Photoshop User…


  1. Hi Scott (or whoever reads this), I just got done watching Crush the Composition (which I read the 1st several times as Crush the Competition, lol). I'm not sure why I clicked on this video as I think I have a pretty good handle on composition (at least in relation to all the other things that I am clueless about). Anyway, I am so happy that I watched this video. Just the tip about choosing photos in Lightroom was worth watching it for. I just used that on the photos from this morning and it was fabulous. Funny how such a little thing can make such a big difference. I loved the info about editing your work and definitely have some people to share that info with. I think the part about figuring out what you like about others work will also be helpful to me. It's kind of like you put into words things I was thinking but didn't quite have figured out. Thank you so much. I'm ready to go crush the competition now. :)

  2. Pretty cool course... makes you think about what you like, why you like it, and how you might go about your next several shoots. Great insights by Scott. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Just a quick note to say for the price you can't go wrong, there are some of the best names in the business teaching us to shoot like they do. Hearing the tools they use, the way they shoot lets us know they are not Gods, or Wizards, and if we study their words, their advice we can shoot like them too. I love this kind of training, it is like instant coffee, one drink and you're awake and ready to go... this training one sip and we're ready to go... I will tell all my friends, on top of great training you have the 100% money back guarantee... there is no way to lose here, we can only get better. I give the training an AAA+++ with four thumbs up, my two thumbs ad my wife's two thumbs, she likes seeing me happy, and hearing new stories, Kelby training stories beats old police stories... LOL

  4. I learn something from every video, but this one is PROFOUND for me! We have all had the rules of composition drilled into us. There was always something missing for me, I'd take a photo or two, yet I was missing something that I saw. It just was there, what "IT" was. By Scott walking through the process of searching for "IT", that thing that caught your eye, has literally changed the way I see. Thank you!

  5. This was an excellent course and again, something well worth joining the site for since I live in an area where I would probably not have a chance to hear something like this in person. In my current job I am known for someone who thinks outside the box to accomplish tasks. I think this course brought taking photos a little more closer into what my thinking is. I need to spend more times in areas I go to get the picture I want. Generally the people I go with are in a hurry to move on, hopefully I can convenience them to join and watch this, or perhaps go alone and let them see the results form better photos.

  6. This one hits the mark! Back in the late '60's, I had a community college instructor, who turned the light on in a very similar fashion. He had us shoot with only one prime lens. He then had us start shooting the subject from as far away as possible and then slowly move in and shoot from every angle possible until we could get no closer. Doing this over and over, trained my eye, until I could identify a good composition without consciously thinking about what "rules" were being used. Thanks Scott!

  7. If the communication link speed isn't fast; link when mobile it would fantastic if after pressing pause the picture would freeze but the download would continue and then we could press play when most is loaded a watch and listen without interruption.

  8. I loved that you showed us all the pictures that weren't right! I've always thought that top photographers just got it right almost immediately. It's been an enormous help to see your process and now I won't be afraid to keep trying different angles, etc and I won't feel embarrassed about it like I used to. Brilliant advice! M.Allison - London

  9. Scott, Application of the techniques discussed in Crush the Composition to the Crush the Composition course, leaving only the good stuff, will make it a masterpiece.

  10. I just wanted to drop a note to first of all thank you for being so "natural" and yourself. I really appreciated your sincerity and the pace of this course. I learned a lot and most important, learned to trust my vision and intuision. I thank you for this great course, and want to say sincerely that you are a genuine and wonderful person. Hope you continue to have lots and lots of success in your work and personal life. Thank you!

  11. I've never heard Scott give a bad piece of advice. His over the shoulder approach in his books comes to life in his videos and class work.

  12. Scott, what a magnificent course! The key moment was the segment of the fireman by Joe M, where you explain writing down what you like about your favorites, or else you have great ones that you don't know why, and lousy ones and you don't know why. You should stand on your chair and say that! Such great ideas for all of us. It was also very helpful to see that pros take lots of bad ones but know how to work it to make a good one or 2, and also are great editors, and show only the best few. Thank you for this course. One of my favorites on Kelby Training...ever! It should be required to watch this one! We ALL struggle with these ideas at some point.

  13. Hi Scott, I am a big fan of The Grid and had been long contemplating taking the online courses. I decided to take up the 24 hr free access pass to check out a few courses before I purchased the subscription. I saw just one class; Crushing the Composition and I immediately knew I would love every minute of the annual subscription. I completed the purchase and I am really excited to see all the other wonderful classes you have online. Thanks!

  14. Great seminar. You really opened my eyes... I am still at beginning and it was very useful. I really like your work with this site, i am finding very helpful.

  15. This is exactly the reinforcement we need to go over and over. I learned much, and I know I will come back to have it all drilled into me again and again, because we never stop learning. Very well done and as always worth every moment we spend watching and worth every penney we spend to watch. Thank you a million times!

  16. Very good workshop. What Scott said about most of the composition books I have read is true: Repeat the 5 rules of composition, then show pictures. Boring and repetitive. Scott filled in the spaces between the 5 rules with easy to undestand principles and easy to recognize examples. As always, his work-flow suggestions are intuitive and enlightening. And such self-effacement to show his ugly shots! Thanks Scott and NAPP.

  17. Excellent! It's helped me already! Good, common-sense stuff that none of the composition books tell you. It has encouraged me greatly and I now understand that I have to work the scene and what that means. The course also taught me to trust my instincts about a scene. This is one I'll be adding to my DVD library!

  18. Scott, thank you so much for all of the excellent training. I loved the "Crush the Composition" course. I believe it will help me tremendously! Work the scene then get out the tripod is genius. Also thanks for showing all of your images. Great course.

  19. This was the best photography workshop of my life! Scott is great at explaining the things that you cannot learn in books. I've read a ton of photography books on composition, and today I learned more than all of them combined. Two thumbs up, and I recommend it to anyone looking to expand his or her photography composition knowledge. Excellent!!!

  20. Teriffic class. So easy to listen to, grasp the ideas and encourage thoughtful picture taking. Thank you for your honesty. I will probably watch this video many times over the course of my learning .

  21. Thank you, thank you thank you, this is the tutorial I have been waiting for and not realised it. So stupid, so obvious, what have I been thinking, I have been basing my progress on percentage of good shots to blah, and aiming for a mythical 80%. Just this one tutorial has made my membership worthwhile.

  22. Okay, so when I clicked on this course, I was thinking, "Hmm..really? I already know about composition." Not. I should have known Scott would do more than the 5 basic rules. He blew it out of the water. Amazing course, and well worth watching!

  23. Very good! I loved Scott sharing all his crappy photos. Makes me feel better about all the lousy photos I've taken. But within each set, I can sometimes find "the one". Thanks!

  24. Love Scott's teaching style. This was hugely inspirational and confidence-building. As in other fields, the best have the supreme confidence to share in a totally open manner - I feel a lot more comfortable about my 'average' shots and Scott's summary at the end of every course encapsulates key points in a nutshell.

  25. This was an excellent course for a beginner (or any level come to that). I liked the way you focused on the emotional reaction to scenes in equal measure to 'technical' aspects and rules. There's some really good advice here. Probably one of the most beneficial hours I've spent related to photography. Thanks Scott :-)

  26. muy buen curso, me gusta mucho el sistema de enseanza y los ejemplos muy buenos. Saludos desde Chile y ojala alguna vez se hiciera un workshop en mi pais, porque la comunidad de fotografos es muy grande y hay muy buenos exponentes.

  27. An absolutely amazing video! I really enjoyed the heart wearm and humorous approach of Scott and the step by step guiding that he gives. I got very inspired watching it late in the evening that I almost got the urge to grab my camera and head into the night to go capture some photos. I really appreciate the time you took to teach this and give us a shove in the right direction - maybe I'm not that far away from becoming a good photographer. But you definitely reached the heart of being a photographer and this video will absolutely keep me moving forward to one day be able to take the shot that I love and am proud of! Best regard from Stockholm, Sweden. I will pass by Nybrogrillen and see if those french fries really are as good as you say they are ;)

  28. This is one of the most useful workshops I have ever seen that explains how to move from being an average photographer to a better one, and perhaps eventually to a great one. In my opinion the best photograph in the whole workshop was the one by Joe McNally! But, Scott is a great teacher!

  29. Fantastic! Right down to the nitty gritty of why people become great photographers. Scott you are wonderful. This course will result in me changing the way I take photographes. And I will remove 95% of the photos from my web site, and replace them one-by-one with only my best photos as I make them.

  30. Really amazing video. I spent the whole night watching your courses. And this one is amazing. I feel that you made it clear that, "common sense is not so common". All things are very common which most of us ignore as trying to do something different. It really makes clear that, if you want to be better at something just keep doing it. So keep taking shots and you will get your favourite shot. Thanks for great inspiring courses!

  31. This video should be the first one to watch if you are serious about your photography! Scott, you are the Jedi Master surrounded by Jedi Knights!!!! Amazing collection of photographers sharing their hobby. Thanks Scott!

  32. Fantastic course, you must have been a fly on my camera. Been there, done that but never put it into perspective the way you did Scott. Thank you so much, can't wait to get out and apply this.

  33. After studying a number of well known books on composition and several video courses this course managed to bring it all together for me. What I learned was that the fundamentals weren't rocket science and that it takes a lot of work to get to that final image you're proud of. The "Ah hah!" moment for me was learning how many shots were taken as you "worked it" before you got to one that worked for you. ...And that was no guarantee it didn't need further cropping and work in post. Kudos, Scott!!!

  34. Hi Scott. I have watched your courses on ACR. Great information. I have a comment/suggestion. When you go through the merging of images in HDR Pro and finish them in ACR you don't take it to the finish of saving the image back to where you started from. I use LR5 as my cataloging and DAM program. LR5 won't accept 32 bit PSD files, finished in ACR or not. It only accepts 8 or 16 bit PSD or TIFF files. In order to get them back to LR the 32 bit image has to be converted into the 16 bit file which changes the characteristics of the image. Trying to get through to Adobe is ridiculous. Their web site is like a fire wall that you can't get through when you try to get help of make a suggestion. Maybe you and/or Matt can get to Adobe and suggest that they engineer LR5 so that it will accept and work with 32 bit PSD files. Another suggestion is that in Photo Shop when you are through with a tool that you can click on it again to re-dock it, as in LR5, rather than having to select another tool. This is probably been the way it has always been but if they can do it on one software they should be able to do it in the other. I am enjoying your courses and all the courses that I am taking through KelbyOne and learning a lot. Keep up the great work. Thanks. Look forward to hearing from you.

  35. This course was very very well thought out. I want to thank Scott Kelby for showing us what a shoot is really like for a professional photographer. He kills the theory that a great photographer is one who can arrive on the scene snap a picture or two and walk away with that perfect shot. In reality it takes a lot of hard work and moving around. Thanks for this really good course it has made a light go on in my head for sure, now to start finding subjects I like and practicing!

  36. Scott I am reading page by page (for the second time) Lightroom 5 on my Nook. The book is exemplary in its substance on how to utilize all of the tools in Lightroom. I have learned much. But, there is a new product called Picture Keeper that is a thumb drive that supposedly finds and downloads all the photos on your computer--easily. I have two back ups of my photography plus carbonite--so I am ok, I think on the back ups (plus I back up Lightroom on a reg basis per your recommendations. So, is the Picture Keeper a device that is safe to use on a computer. BTW, I am in the midst of adding images to my brand new website, and am using Lightroom and Photoshop Elements to resize the photos so they will all be nice little thumb nails--all the same size on the site catalog. Your book has been invaluable to me in this endeavor!

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