Seeing Photographs

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Good photos

1. Explore your optionsSee the potential photographs in front of your camera Remember! Print is a flat piece of paper. Photograph transforms a 3D event into a frozen instant. The scene will be reduced to a smaller size and confined within the edges of the picture format. CONCENTRATE ON THE ACTUAL IMAGE!

Arthur Leipzig, Stickball, 1950

How much of a scene to show

Robert Frank, Parade, Hoboken, 1955

Get closer to your subject

Lee Friedlander

Jerome Liebling, Blind Home

BRUCE DAVIDSON. Untitled, East 100th Street, 1966.

What is your photograph about?

Instead of shooting right away, stop a Moment to decide which part of a scene You really want to show.Jerome Liebling

Visualize what you want the photograph to look like

Sally Mann

Every time you make an exposure you make choices about framing

Ray Metzker

Dont forget that the background is a part of the picture

Paul Strand, French Boy

Use the background when it contributes to something.

Walker Evans

Eve Arnold


Single small object against a contrasting background attracts attention

Hiromu Kira

The eye tends to connect two or more spots like a connect the numbers drawing

Don Hong-Oai, Hoops

Russell Lee, Hidalgo County, Texas, 1939

A line is a shape that is longer than it is wide. This is an Ex. of an actual line.

Russell Lee

More actual line

Ansel Adams

Actual lines

Alexander Rodchenko

Implied line

Cindy Sherman

Implied line

Cindy Sherman

Psychology of lines

Horizontal > calm, stability Vertical > stature, strength Diagonal > activity, motion Zigzag > rapid motion Curve > gracefulness, slowness

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams

Shape - tonal changes across the subject can give illusion of depth Two or more objects invite comparison of their shapes

Man Ray

Dennis Stock

Multiple spot, lines, or shapes can create a pattern that add interest and unites the elements in a scene

Alexander Rodchenko

Alexander Rodchenko

Objects that are close together can be seen as a single shape

Man Ray

Contrast attracts attention

Man Ray

Try to emphasize subjects with camera angle, use scene to reinforce emphasis-Set tension! Remember! A centered symmetrical arrangement can be boring.

People look first at the sharpest part of a photograph --your point of view can have a strong influence

Annie Leibovitz

Shape of light and dark

Flor Garduno

Composition -- the rule of thirdThe basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. With this grid in mind the rule of thirds now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image.

Not only this - but it also gives you four lines that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.

The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that peoples eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot - using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

Arno Rafael Minkinnen

The relative distance of objects from the lens and from each other affects perspective = the illusion of 3D in a flat 2D photograph

Toshio Shibata

Think Space! Overlapping of objects create depth

Suyeon Yun, Birthday Card

Unifying principles of design (a successful art is called the gestalt of a work)1. Repetition

Fred R. Conrad

Annie Leibovitz

2. Variety

James Hill

3. Similarity

James Hill

4. Rhythm

Margaret Bourke-White, contour plowing

Timothy O'Sullivan

5. Balance

Pancho Gonzales, 1972

6. Emphasis

Andrew Biraj

7. Economy

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Edward Weston

7. Continuation

Fred R. Conrad

Observe & express texture

Seeing beauty in unlikely place

Edward Burtynsky

My neighborhood