Photojournalist Steve McCurry, who is most famous for his piercing portrait of the Afghan Girl, featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine, is a master at capturing a story in a single photograph. Using his body of work for reference, the Cooperative of Photography has created a simple how-to video to teach budding and expert photographers alike to compose an image as McCurry does. The video takes viewers on a journey from the Rule of Thirds and framing, through pattern-spotting and more.
Here are the nine composition tips they gathered from studying McCurry's works:
1. Rule of Thirds
Place points of interest on the intersections and important elements along the lines.
Photos by Steven McCurry, screencaps via
2. Leading Lines
Use natural lines to lead eyes into the picture.
Diagonal lines create great movement.
Use natural frames like windows and doors.
5. Figure to Ground
Find a contrast between subject and background.
6. Fill the Frame
Get close to your subjects.
7. Center Dominant Eye
Place the dominant eye in the center of the photo.
8. Patterns and Repetition
Patterns are aesthetically pleasing. But the best is when the pattern is interrupted.
Symmetry is pleasing to the eye.
Visit the Cooperative of Photography website for more skill-sharpening tutorials.
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