composition, arrangement of a visual piece of information;
often used interchangeably with the word design.


Do you find yourself asking...

About Emily and Joy


"Problems with composition is one of the main reasons we have to pass on submissions at Once Wed. I want to publish work by more creatives, and I'm so happy to finally offer an affordable and accessible solution. I'm seeing both beginners and people with years of experience having light bulb moments after reading this course. I've seen creatives work transform after learning these principles. This course is so approachable and in depth that it really is beneficial for everyone."

- Emily Newman, course producer

Emily is the founder and editor-in-chief of

"When I do one-on-ones with creatives composition is often one of the biggest areas of growth - and usually the one with the biggest payoff. I didn't know of a comprehensive, accessible, affordable (and pretty) place to send them to learn it, so I wrote one. What I love most about composition is that it's like learning the scales of music; once you understand them you can play anything."

- Joy Thigpen, course author

Joy has worn many hats through the years including photographer, stylist, creative director, editor, designer, teacher, and is featured with top publications and brands.



What you'll receive:

40 principles of composition
(broken down into bite-sized chunks)
40 accompanying exercises
Images from 60+ photographers
A glossary of terms


“Even though I went to art school and I’ve been shooting for years, often when I’m looking through a viewfinder in a camera something will feel right or wrong, but I don’t know why. This course explained it to me and gave me words as to why I like certain things and not others. “
— Lauren Balengit, Photographer
“It changed the way I approach any image, even for Instagram. It made me want to apply design principles to my photography in my own way. By knowing these rules, I can follow them however I want.”
— Mary Verett, Photographer
“I’ve been decorating homes for clients for decades but with no real training. It was so amazing to learn the words for things my gut has known all along. I feel much more confident in my choices now and more comfortable explaining my ideas to clients.”
— Jodi Hoffman, Interior decorater
“The content in this course started off strong, and just got stronger and stronger. It is filled with beautifully complex yet practical information. It is so good and so very helpful. I can’t wait to start implementing so much of it.”
— Katie Gibbs, Photographer




Composition 101 is a  300+ page digital course
covering 40+ important principles of design.
It is valuable for creatives of varying experience
levels & applies to every avenue of visual creation.

Learn and revisit the content at your own pace.
Your license is valid through October 2016 so you'll
have plenty of time to absorb the information.

Retail $229

This week only


                                                                          Paypal and Credit Card Accepted

                                                                          Paypal and Credit Card Accepted




What sort of results can I expect?

There are immediate and long-term results that you can expect with this course. In the short-term, you will be able to identify the principles of composition that make up great images. You'll be able to use these skills to quickly gauge where your images, portfolio, and Instagram feed can be improved. In the long term, you will be able to apply these principles more readily and subconsciously to your own work; gaining confidence in the designs and images you create, increasing your chances of getting published and garnering more likes on social media.

What if I'm not a photographer?

The course focuses on over 40 of the most relevant principles of design and is taught using a range of captivating, everyday images. We're confident the content will be inspiring to not only photographers but anyone with an interest in visual creation, such as interior designers, bloggers, stylists, florists, hobbyists, or avid Instagrammers.

Does the course cover photography skills?

The course is based on the most relevant elements of visual composition, all of which make for better imagery. The course does not, however, focus on the technical aspects of photography such as aperture, ISO, lenses, film, etc. We highly recommend the workshops offered by Jose Villa, Erich McVey, and Jonathan Canlas if you'd like to learn more in depth on those kinds of topics.

I've been a photographer for years (or I'm already a professional artist). Would I still benefit from the course?

The course content has been guided and reviewed by very experienced professional photographers and an expert from Harvard with a masters in art education who found the content valuable for their own learning. Very seasoned photographers, stylists, even some who teach, have trained with Joy and found it beneficial. This content can affirm your existing practices as well as offer new insights in how to advance your skills.

What if I'm too busy?

We understand that you're busy and took this into account when designing the course. The course has been designed in a series of easy to digest sections that you can work through at your own pace and will be available to you until October 2016.

Can I share the course with a friend (and split the payment)?

Unfortunately, no. Each license that is issued is tied to a single user - the person who purchases the course, and one single device (computer or tablet).

Can I gift this to someone?

Yes! Let us know you'd like to purchase the course as a gift and we'll hook them up.

Can I view the course on multiple platforms?

Your license will be applicable to a single device only. In other words, you will not be able to access the content on multiple devices. You can select your device of choice at the time of download.

I'm unable to pay the full amount now. Do you offer payment plans?

Unfortunately, no. Please note that the course will be available after the sale period but at the regular tuition of $229.

Do you accept credit cards and Paypal?

Yes. Our e-commerce system supports credit card payments and Paypal.

What's the format?

The course is delivered via .pdc files (proprietary encapsulations of .pdf files, created through third-party software). Upon completion of your purchase, you will receive license information and instructions on how to download the software to access the course content.

Once I've purchased the course, then what? How soon can I start?

The course is available to you for download. There are a few steps to getting there. We are using a secured platform to deliver the course content. This involves you downloading some software and registering your license; this will be explained in more detail once you've purchased the course. Immediately upon purchasing the course you will receive an email confirmation. Then, it can take up to 72 hours for the rest to be sent to you. Please also feel free to visit our user guide

What, exactly will I receive?

Once you've registered your license, downloaded the software, and clicked on the link with the course materials, on your computer or tablet you will see a folder named Composition 101. Open this and you will see the course subfolders (1 per part), with pdfs + bonuses.

Will I receive everything all at once?

The course may not be available to you immediately after you purchase it. It can take us up to 72 hours for your license to be issued. Once we've done that, you will receive two emails - one with a link to the course folders - clicking this would begin the download of the course to your computer or tablet, and one with the information on how to activate your license and install the software required for viewing the course. Please visit our user guide to read more.

How long do I have to access the content?

Your license for Composition 101 is valid through October 2016. The course won't be accessible after this time as our license for the software we are using to deliver the course will expire then. We encourage you to take notes as you work through the course content, and keep in mind that you will get the most out of it if you do the exercises and actively apply what you're learning.

What's your refund policy?

As this is a digital and downloadable course, we're unable to offer a refund since there is no way to receive the product back once it's been downloaded. But we are committed to offering a great learning experience and wold love to hear if something's not working to see if it's something we can solve. We want to help if we can. Email us via our contact page. 

I've completed my purchase but I still have questions about the content or process to access the course.

Please visit our user guide for more information. 

Email us here and we'll answer any questions you might have. 

Still unsure if Composition 101 is right for you? Get a sneak peek in to the course here




Composition 101 is a brand new digital course that covers over 40 of the most relevant principles of design. The course is valuable for creatives with varying levels of experience and applicable to every avenue of visual creation.

Learn and revisit the content at your own pace.
Your license is valid through October 2016 so you'll
have plenty of time to absorb the information.

Retail $229

This Week Only


                                                                          Paypal and Credit Card Accepted

                                                                          Paypal and Credit Card Accepted

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