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Visual Design

Repeating Patterns

Repeating Patterns

The human eye loves pattern. Patterns are predictable, and in a way that makes them soothing. They are harmonious, and they have rhythm—not unlike a favorite piece of music. But they are also dynamic—patterns are always moving, even when they aren’t. Your eye moves across a pattern, from the first to the next to the next, and even when that pattern leaves your vision you still imagine that it continues on, outside of the world that you can see. There are a mirriad of patterns available in our world. Let’s talk about a few, and how using them can enhance your photos.
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Effectively Using Repeating Patterns in Your Photographs

Effectively Using Repeating Patterns in Your Photographs

Repetition in our mundane daily lives can be boring. Repeating patterns however, add life, zeal and impact to an image. Patterns are to photography, what rhythm is to music. Repeating patterns, if captured the right way, strengthen an image. Ten pillars on a porch, a hundred umbrellas on the beach, a thousand bricks on a wall and a million petals on a field… repetition takes a life of its own.
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The Classic Elements Of Visual Design

The Classic Elements Of Visual Design

A few weeks ago, we discussed all the elements of visual design and how to apply them to your photography. Think of each one of these elements as an assignment, a place to start when you need some inspiration. Now let’s take a quick look back at each of the design elements and the ways that they can help you develop a better eye for a great photo.
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Visual Design: Enhancing Your Photography With Patterns

Visual Design: Enhancing Your Photography With Patterns

Nothing could be more appealing than repetition. You know, like when your coworker tells you the same joke 25 times or when your preschooler won’t stop making monkey noises. Yeah, I know. Neither one of those things is really all that appealing, but trust me when I say photography is different. Visual artists in general, in fact, recognize the value of pattern in creating a visually interesting composition. Remember pop-artist Andy Warhol’s repeating cans of soup? Love it or hate it, you still had to stop and look at it. (Or recreate it!) That’s the power of pattern.
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Visual Design: Finding Form in Photography

Visual Design: Finding Form in Photography

If you’ve ever studied art, you probably have at least some understanding of form. It’s one of the six classic design elements, and knowing how to use it will help you take photographs that have a creative edge and an artistic quality that greatly exceeds the common snapshot. Form is very similar to its cousin, shape, and it is important to understand the difference between the two, so you can start to develop an eye for how to use both elements to your advantage.
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Visual Design: Using Texture in Photography

Visual Design: Using Texture in Photography

Why is Texture one of the essential visual design elements in photography? Well, if you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time avoiding drama in your life. Unless you’re particularly masochistic, you don’t need that kind of trouble. Your photos do, though. Drama is what makes for a compelling image. Drama is what differentiates a snapshot from a photo. But as photographers, we already have several things working against our quest for the perfect dramatic photograph.

The first one is that pesky third dimension, or lack thereof. Photography is a two dimensional medium, which means that one of the biggest challenges photographers face is making a two dimensional image look three dimensional. Short of smearing paper maché on your prints, there’s not much you can do to bring an actual tactile quality to your images, but there’s plenty you can do to fool your viewer’s eye into believing that it is looking at an object that exists in three dimensions.
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Visual Design: Effective Use of Space in Photography

Visual Design: Effective Use of Space in Photography

Here’s a quick quiz: empty space in a photograph is a) good b) bad. You’re right, it was a trick question. The answer is sometimes a, sometimes b, depending on your subject and scene. But the reason I asked you that question is because a common mistake among hobby photographers is in neglecting empty space altogether, all the time. The truth is that empty space can be a very effective compositional tool; the trick is in learning when to use it, and when not to.
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Visual Design: Using Shape in Photography

Visual Design: Using Shape in Photography

Unless you count the air, there is really very little in our world that doesn’t have shape. Shape is everywhere. It is often the first thing you see when you look at a scene, whether you are consciously aware of it or not.

In art (and photography), shape is one of the six classic design elements, which also includes line, form, texture, color and space. Almost every photograph contains one or more shapes, but great photographs are those where the photographer has used shape in a unique or interesting way.
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Visual Design: Using Line in Photography

Visual Design: Using Line in Photography

Here’s an assignment for you: Take your camera out into the field, and photograph only those scenes that contain lines. It’s easier than you might think. Lines can be found almost everywhere in our world. And line is one of the most important design elements in photography. That is not to say, of course, that you can’t take a great photo without them, but if you learn to seek them out and incorporate them into your work you will find that they add great visual impact to your photographs.
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Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs

Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs

What’s the difference between a snapshot and a photograph? Between an ordinary photograph and a great photograph?

It may surprise you to hear that even in modern photography, the answer to those questions can be found in design principles that are centuries old. All great photographs contain at least one of six elements that great works of art also contain. Keep these design principles in mind, and your snapshots will become great photos almost without effort.
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How Lines, Shapes and Colors Impact The Impression Your Photo Makes

How Lines, Shapes and Colors Impact The Impression Your Photo Makes

We’ve been on the topic of visual focal points and how they draw attention to your subject for the past few weeks. Now I want to introduce you to something that’s in the back of your mind. You probably don’t know why sharp lines and powerful shapes can create such an impact, but you’re about to take your natural visual sense to another level. I’ll show you how.
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