Understanding the technical side of photography, the craft, will allow you to capture an image, but coupling the craft with your vision is what enables you to create art. In this first lesson we'll focus on some of the fundamentals of the craft, but the rest of the class will be devoted to the art.
There are two types of light: specular and diffused. Learning how to recognize the properties and characteristics of each type of light will inform you of the photographs you can make in a given scene.
How do you create a photograph that says something to the viewer? The answer is to tell a story. The key to telling a good story is to remove all distraction and distill out only what is essential, and then arrange the remaining elements in the strongest manner possible. That is what composition is all about.
When creating a photograph, you need to determine what is the most important thing in the scene, and then make that your dominant element. Is it a color, a symbol, a shape, a person, a relationship? Make your decision and then make that your dominant element, and everything else either supports it or is removed.
The art of extraction is seeing the photograph within the photograph. Start with a wide view of the scene and then move in tighter and tighter, honing in on important detail each time.
There are many ways to tell your story. Can you include people in the scene to provide a sense of scale? How are you choosing to render motion? Are you using depth of field to support the dominant element in your story? All of these and more are techniques a photographer can use to say something to the viewer.