The Art of Photographic Composition Workshop


St Davids – Pembrokeshire

Mon 29 January – Fri 2 February 2018
  • Open a door to expressive seeing and composition
  • Excellent for both colour and mono photographers
  • A move towards cleaner, simpler pictures will aid photographers of all abilities
  • Extra Free 1-day Introduction to Composition Workshop Worth £99
  • Free copy of the ABC of CameraWork Manual worth £25
  • Great value for money – B&B Included for 4 nights 
  • On-going email support
  • 4 Places
  • Fitness 1 of  3
Pay a deposit of £199.00 per item


The Art of Photographic Composition Workshop

The Art of Photographic Composition – Contents 

1 – Before The Workshop

2 – Introduction to The Learn Grow Express Programme

3 – Examples of Photographic Composition

4 – Photographic Composition Workshop Tutorial

5 – Picture Taking

6 – Participant Picture Reviews

7 – You Will Have The Opportunity To Take Pictures Like These

8 – Participants’ Pictures

9 – An Inspiring Case Study

10 – A past participants testimonial

11 – The Photographic Composition Workshop At A Glance

12 – Is This Photographic Composition Workshop For Me?

13 – Learn Grow Express Core Content

What will I learn?

This workshop follows on from where the introduction left off. There we noted a great composition requires strength, organisation, structure and cohesiveness. You are strongly recommended to attend the introduction to composition workshop before signing up to the art of composition workshop.

Here we will be looking at the points to consider when composing a picture. This may include expanding your vocabulary to include words that describe the elements of composition. The workshop takes a show > do > review type of approach to teaching you new skills of selecting and framing a subject.


The aims of composition

“Geometry (composition) is to the visual arts, what grammar is to the writer.”

Topics we will cover on the art of photographic composition workshop are Line, Shape, Colour, Form, Lighting, Texture, Scale, Base and Proportion.

Again, we will NOT be focusing on predetermined or preset ways of composing such as the so-called rule of thirds.

The aim of the effective composition is to provide the viewer with a meaningful communication of what you the photographer find significant.



1 – Before The Art of Photographic Composition Workshop

Free 1-day Introduction to Composition Workshop


  • Discover 5 vital things you must know and do when composing
  • Excellent for colour and mono photographers
  • Free copy of the ABC of CameraWork Manual worth £25
  • Great value for money + On-going email support
  • 4 Places
Thu 19 October 2017 – Wells – Somerset 
Thu 25 January 2018 – Wells – Somerset
Warm Up Exercise

Before the workshop think about the role of the photographer and share it with the group. Try to hone your thoughts into three bullet points.

The Workshop Manual 

When you sign up, you will be sent a free copy of the ABC of CameraWork Manual  – How to see photographically. See Chapter 8 – C for Composition. Here is all the detail you need to understand and use composition better. The chapter also includes Hot Hints and practical exercises for you to have a go at before you enter the Learning Zone

Artistic Awareness Survey

Each workshop participant will have their own reasons for signing up and aspects of photography they wish to learn or improve. The Artistic Awareness Survey will help you work out what you do and do not know about the art and craft of composition.

2 – Introduction To Learn Grow Express Programme 

A Brief Introduction To The Learn  Grow Express (LGE) Programme

Learn Grow  Express is a three-part learning programme leading to a designated outcome, for example, an exhibition, a book, a distinction with participants designing and self-directing their programme.

composition workshop
One-Day Introduction Workshops

The one-day introduction workshops are perfect for getting you into the mood and idea of the LGE concept. It is recognised that you will have very little knowledge of Learn Grow Express before you come on the introductory workshop.

composition workshop
Residential Workshops

Residential workshops can last between five and eight days. Depending on the subject we will have plenty of time to go into the details. Residential workshops build on the information given in the one-day introduction and look forward to the masterclasses.

Residential Masterclasses

Masterclasses are an opportunity for you to enhance your photographic expression based on your experience on the workshops. My role as workshop leader becomes more facilitator than trainer educator.

composition workshop
Beginnings and Endings 

Your chance of success is greatly increased by breaking big changes into small manageable steps. The LGE Programme provides the steps for you to create your dreams, talent, vision and style.

“Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself”

George Bernard Shaw

3 – Cottages at Abereiddy – examples of the

art of photographic composition  

We will have an opportunity to look at variations of subject matter and composition to express “the strongest way of seeing” to quote Edward Weston. See the examples opposite of the variations available from the same subject from the cottages at Abereiddy.
“Thank you for an inspiring Workshop in Pembrokeshire. I learnt so much in a great relaxed manner, all helped by your ability to cater for all abilities with careful consideration of our differing needs. Your encouragement, approachability, ideas, suggestions and feedback all made it a great and worthwhile few days“.
Anne Jones

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

4 Composition Workshop Tutorial 

The content of the art of photographic composition workshop builds on the skills and knowledge offered in the one-day introduction workshop. There we discussed the five vital things you need to know about composition.

See the Infographic opposite for the topics to be discussed in this workshop.

Nourishing and Nurturing 

We use visual language and grammar to compose a picture. There is also a vocabulary: the building blocks (words) of the sentences to help put the picture together.

The Infographic opposite and the Tabs below – describe the vocabulary, the terms used to describe the elements that make up a picture.

Actual and implied Lines are the basic structural element of any composition. Implied lines emerge through the relationship between elements so be aware of them and how they work with or against your composition. Strong Diagonal lines always have been an important element in many of the compositions I make.

Shape can help define a composition just like lines. Vary the size of shapes in the frame by using the cheapest form of zoom lens – your legs – to get closer or farther away from the subject.

Where you have many repeating shapes that create a pattern, the eye will always look for something to break that pattern. Whether that break was naturally there or was engineered by you to create a place for the eye to rest is immaterial.

When you create a storyboard and a shooting list, you should also consider the colour palette of the images you are planning to put together. Colour will probably be the most powerful component of your picture, so it requires careful consideration. Did your vision and intent include complimentary or contrasting colours?

Form is how we describe how three-dimensional something looks and its apparent volume. If you want to increase the perception of volume, choose the position and angle of the lighting carefully. Lighting from the front and back will not greatly increase the sense of volume. Side and oblique lighting

Lighting from the front and back will not greatly increase the sense of volume. Side and oblique lighting are the most effective in this case.

The quality and direction of the light falling on the subject are a primary consideration. Lighting from either side will give a sense of texture to a surface. Would a different time of day or month in the year produce a better result?
A sense of scale is always helpful in a picture that is describing reality. If your intent is to leave the viewer to wonder about how big or small something is in an expressive picture, then an element that gives a sense of scale will not help your vision or intent.
There is a very strong creative argument to say that you can place the horizon anywhere within the vertical aspect. For me that means at both extremes – the horizon could be near the top or at the adjacent to the bottom of the frame.

Hot hint

If you have framing guidelines visible in the viewfinder of your camera, turn them off thereby taking away a preset formula for composing pictures on the thirds.

Texture adds a feeling of tactility to a picture created by side or backlighting. Texture gives a surface shape. Texture may be enhanced, in some cases, by a wet surface. How are you going to use differing textures when the lighting is right within your pictures?
5 Picture Taking

The reasons why

Composition is the glue that holds a picture together. Select and composing the picture is all about you, how you see and what you perceive as significant.

Your expensive camera cannot choose your vision, intent, ideas, subject matter and the placing of the subject within the frame. These processes are all part of your role as the photographer in charge of taking and making the picture.
Show > Do > Review
composition workshop

The workshops in the LGE Programme offer instruction in a very straightforward way. The Show > Do > Review principle is employed to enable you, the workshop participant, to get the maximum benefit from the day. The workshop demonstrates practical ways of using knowledge and new-found skills.

Knowledge isn’t knowledge until you own it and use at will in any appropriate situation.

Hot Hint 

Turn OFF Framing Guidelines in your Electronic Viewfinder for a more personal compositional arrangement.

6 Participant Picture Reviews

During the art of photographic composition workshop your pictures will be reviewed as you take them to ensure that you fully understand how to get the effect you’re trying to achieve. All of us see pictures differently and we can learn from each other by sharing the pictures we have taken.

We all see things in our own way and passing around cameras is a good method to pick up the vision and style of others. It is important to say that this is not a competition and you are on the composition workshop to learn and update skills.

“The art of photographic composition is the art of leaving things out”

Andy Beel FRPS

7 – You Will Have The Opportunity To Take Pictures Like These

Click on the pictures below to enlarge them 

8 – Celebrating Past Participants’ Pictures and Self-expression

Pictures by Elizabeth Restall ARPS, Alan Frost ARPS, Anne Jones and Fay Rogers LRPS

9 – David’s Inspiring Case Study

Read how David found inspiration and real progress though following up a magazine article.

“Andy many thanks for being so open and sharing your experience in an easy and friendly way. I learnt how to think through the composition rather than just pointing and shooting as usual.” 

Frank Myers – Stourbridge

11 – The Art of Photographic Composition Workshop At A Glance

Dates and Times

The residential art of photographic composition workshop starts at 19.00 on the 29th Jan and finishes at 12.00 midday on the 2nd of Feb.


We will be staying at the 2* Y Glenndd Hotel and Restaurant in St Davids as a central location for our trips north, south, east and west. This well maintained St Davids Hotel with 10 rooms, dates back to the 1880’s and is situated within a few minutes’ walk from both the city centre and the Cathedral.

Included In The Cost

  • Free ABC of CameraWork Manual worth £25 
  • Free One-day Composition Workshop Worth £99
  • Tutorials
  • Individual or group picture reviews
  • Guidance to selected photography locations
  • Suggestions for composition, exposure and lenses
  • Transport whilst on the workshop
  • On-going email support
  • Hotel – Bed and Breakfast

Excluded From The cost  

Transport to the Workshop, Parking, Entrance Fees, Lunch and Evening Meals, Refreshments

Additional Benefits

You may be interested in booking a session of 121 Post-processing Tuition to enable you to get the most from the Introduction to Composition Workshop.

composition workshop

St Davids

What To Bring

  • Camera and camera manual
  • Batteries
  • Memory cards
  • Mobile phone
  • Notebook, pen
  • Wet weather gear – depending on the forecast
  • Walking boots


We will meet for dinner at 7 pm on Monday evening this will give you plenty of time to get to St David’s in west Wales. The hotel provides stunningly good meals. You can relax after the drive and get to know the other participants on the art of photographic composition workshop.

After breakfast each day, we will all travel together in my large estate car to the carefully selected photo shoot location. Lunch will be taken in a pub or cafe. We will be back at the hotel by 5 pm for a rest picture reviews and tutorials. Dinner will be served as we require it.

Joining Instructions 

Joining Instructions will be emailed to you approximately two weeks before the event. Included will be the exact time and location for us to meet up.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information please go to our frequently asked questions page

On-going Support

Once you become a client, part of the package is unlimited email support. If you have a question, please email me

12 – Is The Art of Photographic Composition Workshop For Me?

composition workshop
Testimonial From Past Workshop Participant

“St Davids is a great location from which to explore the dramatic Pembrokeshire coast, its harbour villages and countryside. Andy is an excellent host and knows some of the best locations to test and expand your photographic horizons, with very good tuition thrown in for good measure.”

Alan Frost ARPS

The Art of Photographic Composition Workshop introduces you to the grammar of your visual language. To carry on the metaphor we will be breaking down the written story in paragraph’s, sentences, clauses and words. Every writer like a photographer attends to every aspect of the creative process to most effectively communicate.

Visually, a picture is made up of your choice of subject matter, framing, lines, shapes, form etc to give the image substance. By understanding how the nuts and bolts of picture composition work together you will have much greater success in making an effective composition. The viewer will be seeing and understanding what you saw and felt at the time of composition.

Your photography skills and knowledge will greatly benefit from being in the Learning Zone for just one week. Here is a reminder of what we said at the top of the page:

  • Understand the elements of composition and when to use them
  • Expand and enhance your photographic vocabulary
  • Composition is the art of leaving things out
  • Open a door to expressive seeing and compositions
  • Excellent for both colour and mono photographers
  • A move towards cleaner, simpler pictures will aid photographers of any ability

When you are ready to book, return to the top of the page.

Making your best, even better

13 – Learn Grow Express Core Content

The encouraging articles below set out the key thinking behind the ABC of CameraWork method of photographic seeing.



Understanding the reason for taking a picture



Backgrounds make a picture either sing or sag



“Composition is the art of leaving things out”


Depth of Field

Depth of field is a tool for making expressive pictures



Optimum exposure allows a variety of post-processing



Accurate focusing is vital to communication a message



Gently press the shutter to avoid camera shake

Additional information


Mon 29 Jan – Fri 2 Feb 2018


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