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It’s About Design

I just bought Corey Barkers new book, Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers. I haven’t read it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

So if I haven’t read it, why am I mentioning it?

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend regarding website design. I used some examples from photography and realized that we too are designers. In fact, it dawned on me that the very same principles apply when creating a photograph as designing anything else. Face palm.

Placing the subject, use of negative space, other elements that appear in the photograph and where they are placed, attention to detail (no branches coming out of heads), horizon line placement, and of course lighting. Color vs. B&W. These are the design elements we work with.

I spoke of simplicity and timelessness of design. And the difference between being fashionable and being trendy.

I used Apple’s website as an example. It is basically a B&W theme. Classic. Timeless. And yet hip at the same time. There are not too many elements. A product is featured as the largest element on the page. The horizon – the header and footer – are understated. Everything is easy to read, and there are no conflicting elements to draw our attention away from the product. And yet there is a fluidity in the page design that makes our eyes want to move around that page. What else is there on it?

Apply these design principles to a photograph.

Our eyes should go first to the subject (the “product”) – and it’s key feature, if present – the eyes. Now depending on the composition it is either all subject (for example if shot against a solid color or very simple gradient background) or a background that lends interest to – but does not compete with – the subject. If the former, then the subject itself must carry the photograph. Gesture. Expression. Curves to the body if a woman or strength and masculinity if a man. Or strength to the woman through pose (gesture). It doesn’t matter. The subject carries, and our eyes move to explore that subject. If used negative space can lend focus to that.

Back to Corey’s book.

There are times that I want to place my subject is a context that I create rather than where I place them. I have always been interested in composites, but feel that I have limitations there in terms of designing that composite. Corey’s book appears to be more than a “how to” – it looks to have ideas that I can leverage in my own work. This, and perspective from a graphic designer – is what I hope to take away from this.

Wish me luck.

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