• peru-tsuyoshi-ito-3
  • peru-tsuyoshi-ito-2
  • peru-tsuyoshi-ito-1

Learn to arrange your frame for maximum expression.

All the technical know-how, fancy lenses, and megapixels can‘t make a good picture without something more essential -- composition. This 5-week class is designed for anyone who struggles to understand the basics of designing their frame in order to achieve the strongest possible expression. How many times have you taken a shot of a beautiful subject, only to feel flat when seeing the image printed? What are the mysteries that make one image astonishing, and another dull and lifeless?

This class will start with many of the basic compositional “rules”: the rule of thirds, leading lines, vantage point, simplification/reduction, and negative space. The class will then proceed to learn when and why it is a good idea to break those rules. With some help from Bill Brandt, we’ll introduce abstraction. With the help of Robert Frank, we’ll learn potent, surgical framing. With a look at Lartique, we’ll see the benefits of being more childlike with the camera. In short, we’ll be taking risks.

Assignments and critiques will be an essential part of the learning process as you gain greater and greater control over the content and message of your images. As Alain de Botton writes, “Once I began to to consider everything as being of potential interest, objects released their latent layers of value.”

  • Digital camera of any kind
  • Thumb drive (Minimum 4GB) or external hard drive
  • Portfolio of 5 prints for initial discussion

Michelle Cade graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography from the University of the Arts in 2014 and a Bachelors of Art in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography and a Minor in Art History in 2011 from California State University San Bernardino. She started working in a darkroom twelve years ago and since then has gone on to work as a photographer in California, Pennsylvania and Maine. Her work has been shown in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Cade focuses on traditional photography and alternative processes, but also has a strong interest in integrating the technology of digital photography into these.

  • Compositional “rules” (rule of thirds, leading lines, vantage point, negative space)
  • Examples of when the “rules” should be broken
  • Lectures featuring the work of important photographers and visual artists
  • Assignments exploring new compositional approaches
  • Group critique of new work
  • Aesthetics
  • Assignments
  • Critique
  • Demonstrations
  • Lecture
  • Shooting
Who's it for?

Any photographer seeking a better understanding of designing their frame to achieve a strong level of expression. Students may use non-DSLR cameras.

Join a Future Section »


  • Non-members: $450.00
  • Members: $405.00


5-session class