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Such a big topic and only one month! And a short month at that. I should have saved a longer month for this one.
One of the big things that separates a good photo from a snapshot is that extra attention to composition and detail. That second look before pushing the shutter. And that third look when editing.
I found so many wonderful youtube videos discussing composition. Some of the better ones discuss more than one concept around composition so I will list the videos I recommend and my comments about them.
Symmetry. Extremely short, less than a minute:
Symmetry and asymmetry, 4 minutes:

Rule of Thirds  3.5 minutes:  Great video, quick pace, but to the point.
Overall composition tips. 16 minutes. The first part of the video discusses the rule of thirds:
7 common photography composition mistakes. Basic but great reminders. 7 minutes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oXBdKChuX8

For those that want more advanced lessons, I found the art of photography series on youtube very good. I have to confess I wish he would get to the point quicker. But some great concepts and he uses some very famous photos to illustrate his points. Love seeing the classics. Most of the videos are around 16 minutes.
Here is one on the rule of thirds but there are 6 addition composition videos using other concepts. I really liked the rule of odds, but probably doesn't lend itself to doodle photos.
THE ASSIGNMENT:
Shoot your doodle using one of the 2 principles of composition below. I would advise shooting with a little more space than you normally do and use cropping if you need to. There are many other concepts, and some are mentioned in the videos, but I don’t want to make it too complicated or too open ended. If you find one of the other principles mentioned in the video that is really compelling to you, you are welcome to use it and please mention it when you post your photo.

1. Rule of thirds. The go-to composition rule for photographers. This is an overlay grid in the lightroom crop tool. If you are using photoshop you can use the cropping tool and one of the pull down menus to the top shows rule of thirds as an overlay option. I also recommend unchecking the “delete cropped pixels” unless you have no desire to ever rethink your decision. If you have any problems finding this grid let me know and I can help in either of these programs.

2. Symmetry. This one is pretty obvious. But symmetry can also include balance. See the videos.

For each photo posted state the principle of composition you are using. I will restrict my comments to composition, cropping, and elements in the frame that affect composition. It’s no surprise that I love shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh, so a hint: it's an easy way to remove distracting elements in the background of your photos.
Can't wait to see the photos!
Update:
I know it's cold in a lot of places. If you have a photo shot previously and you are not sure about cropping this is also an invitation to post and get feedback. Comments will be limited to composition only. 
Another tip: almost all cameras have the ability to display a grid (such as the rule of thirds) in the viewfinder.

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Replies to This Discussion

Beautiful sunny day here.  Rule of thirds.

This is adorable and a great example of the rule of thirds. 

Thank you!

I LOVE this shot of Chance!! Put it in that calendar file :)

The great news is that a few of you that are participating already have several amazing photos to select from for next year's calendar and it's less than half way through the year!

DJ, I don't know how you will decide!  

I wish there was a way to encourage others to get involved. I do know that weather is pretty foreboding to go out and photograph this time a year. But with an entire month there has to be at least 1 day.  And I'm jealous of those of you that have snow. It's a definite advantage for calendar photos in the winter months. 

I also wish others were participating, but participating is actually declining.  You put work and thought into these lessons, and there is so much to learn, even for those of us who have a bit more experience than others.  For me, it helps me to focus on fundamentals that I've neglected, or indoor shots that I have avoided.  And it is good to get real and honest critique--that helps us to become better photographers and to get better images of our adorable doodles.

I agree. I have tried to encourage people to participate. Come calendar time it will make a big difference.

Although I may not be posting pictures, I am following and absorbing all the material you are posting, and appreciate your time and expertise.  Personally, I am not feeling that any of my pictures are even worth posting right now.  Also, we have been out of town...I know I want to grab my camera and my girls to go out in the snow, but life sometimes can get in the way....

I've posted some very, very imperfect photos in this lesson and am learning from the mistakes.  Looking forward to having you back!

Yes, don't hesitate to post.

Glad to see you here!! Looking forward to your posts!

Done :)

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