Courses in English

 Course "Composition & Design"

 This course is now held in Amsterdam on different locations.

 The next lesson is on Saturday November 21, 19.30 hours.

 Location: coming soon (yet unknown)
 Price: € 20,00 per lesson.
If you want to join, mail to

You can join any time!
This is a course about design factors in photography and art. So we will treat "Composition" as a larger or broader subject than "the arrangement of elements within a frame", which is the narrow definition. The basics of visual language or visual gramma will be discussed, including Gestalt Psychological Laws. We do not deal with "rules of composition", since these are subjective, arbitrary and compulsory. In stead we are working with "points of attention". meaning, if some compositional factor, like the placement of the horizon, or the placement of a strong line, is an important matter in a photograph, we can do this, or do that, and look for the different possibilities and symbolical meanings. So, these factors are dependent on our goal that we have with the photograph. This is not to say that everything goes and everything is OK. Far from that: we have to deal with objective visual grammar. It is clear that one can make mistakes within composition, and the general public will see these mistakes. But the general public is not able to describe and recognize all the factors. We are going into all of the compositional factors in this course. Important items are: the viewing direction through the photograph (how we "read" a picture), the symbolical meaning of right and left in the picture, of the four most important lines (vertical, horizontal, diagonal and oblique), colors, light, contrast, the Diagonal Method, the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Section, balance, symmetry, space, visual strong and visual weak factors, and so on. (Edwin Westhoff is the discoverer of the Diagonal Method, which is built in in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CS6/CC.)

Subscription and information:

Contents of the Course Composition & Design:

  Concerning composition, we take the "larger view" in this course. This means we will look at the total design of the photograph and not
  only at "the arrangement of elements in a frame".
  The following subjects are treated:

  - Definitions
  - Bottom-Up and Top-Down Perception
  - Purposes of composition
  - The frame
  - Balance and symmetry
  - Balance between left and right
  - Visual language
  - Gestalt psychological laws
  - The symbolism of left and right
  - Viewing direction through the photograph (or picture or painting)
  - Viewing direction of the subject
  - Lines and the symbolism of horizontal, vertical, oblique and diagonal lines
  - Symbolism of the vertical and horizontal frame
  - Patterns
  - The Horizon
  - Clouds
  - The Rule of Thirds, the Diagonal Method and the Golden Section
  - Depth, ways to create depth
  - Light and shadow, clair-obscur
  - Foundations (like "visual gravity")
  - The "Ten Laws of Beauty" by Ramachandran
  - Creating compositions by feeling and rational thinking
  - Basic structures (like optical triangles)
  - Composing or manipulating?
  - Examples of famous photographers

  The first hour these subjects (above) will be treated, the second hour the photographs of the students will be discussed.


  Private lessons

  Private lessons in English can have the following subjects:
  • how to use your camera (2 hours)
  • portfolio / photo discussion (1 or 2 hours)
  • architecture or urban photography: field trips to a chosen city in the Netherlands (2 hours)
  • specific lessons from existing courses Basic or Follow Up Photography (1 or 2 hours)
  • composition and design (from 1 hour to 4 lessons of 2 hours each)
  • landscapes: field trips to the most interesting nature reservations in the Netherlands (about 4 hours)
  • Ruhr area: field trips to the Ruhr area: Zollverein and Landschaftspark Duisburg, the Gasometer in Oberhausen, etc.
  • another subject you are interested in (send an e-mail with your request)


- Private lessons are € 45,-- per hour, € 90,-- for two hours. (21% VAT (b.t.w.) and my own travel expenses of € 0,20 p/km not included.) Field trips are € 90,-- (the rest is traveling time without costs. You have to be able to travel on your own to the chosen location.)

- Time: since I have classes on all evenings, private lessons can only take place during office hours on working days (Monday to Friday).

- Location: since there is no need for a class room, the location can be anywhere. When the location is not in Utrecht, there will be travelling costs. When a video projector is needed, a suitable place is necessary.

- Readers: at this time there are no readers in English.

More information and appointments:  
Tel. 00-31-343-452812