Prior to lesson, ask students to bring in a favourite object (I request stuffed animals from younger grades).

Introduce lesson by asking students what they think makes a good picture. Talk about position of the subject, and where they think a person should best be placed in the frame. Ask what they think should be included in the picture, and what should be left out. The idea is to have students recognize that placement of the subject is something that should be thought out prior to taking the photo. They need to pay attention to the background, so that it complements the subject, and doesn't take away from it by being too busy. It is important for photographers, amateur and otherwise, to make sure there will not be items in the background that will appear to be "attached" to the subject, such as a lampost. The subject must also be placed in the frame in such a way that the most important part--the eyes--are clear and visible, and that the top or side of the head is not cut off. Occasionally, we might not want to center a subject in the frame, and may also want to include other things in the photo if they are relevant.

Look at sample photos (many can be found online) and talk about why they are good or bad.

Hand out cameras and have students place their teddy bears in a spot they think will make a good composition. Allow a couple of choices. Then review by asking what they did and why they think it works or doesn't work.

A follow-up can be done by choosing a vew of the photos to show the class and have a discussion about what they learned about composition. We use teddy bears or people, but the same principles apply to any subject.

Depending on the age of the group, the following elements of composition may be discussed:
Setting: Where the photo is being taken;
Background: This one is especially important, and I talk about it even with young children;
Arrangement of the subject in the frame;
Focus: I stress that the most important part of the photograph must be in focus, and I talk about what it means when something is "out of focus" (I use the word "blurry" for young students);
Contrast: The difference between the dark and light parts of the photo; and
Space: Negative (empty) versus positive spaces, having depth in the photo.

Click below for a basic introductory lesson: