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Weekend Assignment: Observe Your Composition

This assignment ran from May 17 to May 20, 2019.

For my previous Weekend Assignment, I asked you to Follow the Light.

For this weekend’s assignment, I want you to get out and make new pictures as you concentrate on observing your composition. Often when I look at your photos, I feel like you are rushing. Like you are excited about what you are seeing — and then click, click, click, you are done.

For this weekend’s assignment, I am encouraging you to slow down and focus on what is in your entire frame, and not just the main subject of your photo. Pay attention to your foreground and background. If you are serious about practicing your composition this weekend, here are some useful photo tips with photos from National Geographic’s book Simply Beautiful Photographs. I also found a really helpful National Geographic Guide to Photography that offers even more insight on framing, the rule of thirds, leading lines, and sense of scale — in addition to other fundamentals of photography.

That is what these weekend assignments are, practicing the fundamentals of photography. Even though Michael Jordan was the greatest professional basketball player, he still practiced smartly every day: “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”

That is why I keep encouraging you to take new photos because this is how you will become a better visual storyteller, one frame at a time. I love this commercial where Michael Jordan articulates “I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

For the final story, I will only be selecting photos that were taken during the timeframe of this assignment: May 17, 2019 at 12 p.m. EDT to May 20, 2019 at 12 p.m. EDT.

David Y. Lee
Producer, National Geographic Your Shot

Curated by:

David Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
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Published Jun 6, 2019.
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David Lee

David Lee

Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.