A beginning course that teaches students how to use a digital camera & digital darkroom skills

Designed to educate students on how to use industry standard digital editing software, hardware and digital camera equipment. Instruction in design, rules of composition, history of photography, master photographers and careers in photography are covered. The CA Visual Art Standards create the framework for students learning skills related to digital camera uses.

PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN

BALANCE

Just like you wouldn’t eat your three meals of the day in the morning, you don’t want to pack all your elements in only one area of your composition. That’s what balance is: making sure that the visual weight is equally distributed in your design.

To be precise, there are three types of balance:

  • Symmetrical balance: The elements of one side of the composition are strictly similar to those of the other side. This option naturally evokes classicism and constancy – like the pillars of a Greek temple.
  • Asymmetrical balance: The elements on both sides are different, but still give a feeling of having the same “weight”. This is achieved by playing with the colors, textures, shapes and positions of the items. For example, a small object can balance a bigger one if its color is darker, or its texture is more contrasted. This type of balance evokes modernism and vitality.
  • Radial balance: The elements are equally positioned all around the central point of the design, like if they were radiating out from it. This option gives a strong sense of life and dynamism.

EMPHASIS

It occurs when an artist creates an area that is visually dominant in the composition. It’s often achieved by means of contrast, but not exclusively. Every design should incorporate a primary element like this, known as a “focal point”, that will serve as a door through which the viewer can enter the composition.

RHYTHM & MOVEMENT

Life is like a riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”, once said Einstein. The exact same goes for your composition. For your viewers to enjoy it to the fullest, they have to “move” within your design. This is why a good creation always incorporates a path, which seamlessly leads the eye from one element to another, while communicating the proper information.

REPETITION OR PATTERN

Repetition = boring? Think again. A repeated element can create a pattern that is highly satisfactory. Repetition helps to create consistency, which is crucial when it comes to enforce the unity of your composition. Pattern or rhythm is simply repeating an element in such a manner. This will cause the viewer’s eye to move around to each element.

UNITY

Unity in design exists when all elements are in agreement. It creates a sense of completeness, and completion. To achieve this precious state of harmony, the designer needs to make sure that every element really belongs to the composition, with a specific place and role. Nothing should be useless or placed randomly.

PROPORTION

Proportion is the visual size and weight of elements in a composition and how they relate to each other. Proportion is using the size of an object to give it more or less importance. Proportion can be achieved only if all elements of your design are well-sized and thoughtfully placed.

VARIETY

Variety is exactly what it sounds like, having variety in your elements. Combines different shapes, forms, textures, values and sizes to create interesting compositions.

PHOTOGRAPHIC ELEMENTS OF ART

LINE

Line is the most important element of all and also the most strongest in its meaning. Your eyes follow the line whether it is visible or invisible. Based on its character and direction, lines communicate emotions making it one of the strongest elements of design.

Horizontal lines suggest feeling of restfulness or calmness, vertical lines suggest feeling of power, and diagonal lines suggest feeling of movement and direction. Soft curved lines represents relaxing or soothing feel whereas acute or jagged lines suggest frenzy or chaotic feeling and so on.

SHAPE

Shape is a two dimensional representation of an object. Kids draw primarily using the shapes like an outline of a farm house, a tree, sun, etc. The outer line of an object forms the shape.

In photography, you can represent interesting shapes of the objects by using silhouette effect due to backlighting. Silhouette photographs make an impact when the shape of the subject (object) is clearly defined in contrast with the background.

FORM

Form is a three dimensional representation of an object. A third dimension (thickness) to the Shape yields Form.

Photography (and art) is a two dimensional form lacking the depth which poses a challenge to  you as a photographer to somehow represent the third dimension by creating an illusion of depth.

By using light and shadow you can create an illusion of depth in your photograph.

TEXTURE

Texture represents the details that are present on the surface of an object. You can use texture to create photographs that are visually interesting.

Direction of light plays an important role in bringing out the textures. Based on the mood you want to convey in your photograph, you will either wait for the light that will emphasize the roughness or softness of an object.

COLOR

Color is a major design element that we love. Colors play an important role to set the mood of the photograph.

The colors can be broadly classified as warm colors and cool colors. Red, Orange, and Yellow are the warm colors that suggest the feeling of warmth, liveliness, and energetic whereas Blue and Green are cool colors that suggest the feeling of calmness, tranquility, and sad/gloomy.

SPACE

Space is another important element of design that suggests the distance between the objects, perspective, and proportions of objects.

A subject represents the positive space in an image and the background represents the negative space. Negative space is as important as the positive space in defining the shape of the subject.

VALUE

The lightness or darkness of tones or colors. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray. Values help create forms and differentiate space or distance. Gradation of values within a space or shape create forms, or the illusion of volume and mass.

Historical Photographer Presentation

http://aphotoeditor.com/2012/09/18/100-most-influential-photographers-of-all-time/

https://fstoppers.com/news/professional-photographer-magazines-100-most-influential-photographers-all-time-5238

HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHER PRESENTATION

For this report assignment, you will select and research a photographer and their work. Once decided, there are many books in class, which may be used for reference; however, these must stay in the room. Feel free to use them here during class or after school. You may use your computer for serious research during class time and the creation of your Google Doc and Presentation. You will work by yourself or with a partner.

Your product will be in two parts:

PART I– a handout to share with your classmates (10 copies). It is to be word-processed, in no larger than 12 point font. The introduction will explain your reason for selecting this photographer. In bullets & phrases cover at least 7 of the following:

  • Full name of individual
  • Date and place of birth & indicate years of life (and if still living)
  • How influenced-by others in field of photography
  • How influenced-by circumstances in life
  • Awards, fellowships, grants, etc. (explain nature of award)
  • Typical subject matter of photographs made by this artist
  • What this artist is trying/ tried to communicate
  • Typical style of work
  • Geographic places this photographer shot
  • Significant contribution(s) to photography (or the art world)
  • What they themselves said/say about their work (quotes OK)
  • What others have said about the work

Include 2 examples of this person’s photography, either photocopied (from a print source) or computer generated images (from an electronic source). These visual images need to include the photograph’s title, year made, must be at least 5×7 inches and of good visual quality (i.e., readable-not overly pixelated) to be displayed in our classroom.

Also, you will need to list at least 3 sources you used for research. Please do so in the following manner: (print source: title, year of copyright, author, publisher / electronic source: address [complete http], title, author, copyright year)

You will be expected to present from your handout information about the artist you select in class. You are responsible for knowing the information on each photographer, so keep track of this handout.

PART II- will be a Google Slides, Power Point, Prezy or any other software format of your choice…

Please select 10 photographs that you feel best represent the best of their work, think the GREATEST HITS! Your presentation will include a title slide with the photographers name and year of birth and death. Each slide will include

  • Title of Photograph
  • Year taken

You will provide the additional content via note cards or any other aid and communicate to the class why each photograph is significant and why you chose the image. This will be done for all 10 images.

  • What is happening in the photograph?
  • What is the setting of the photograph?
  • Why was the photograph taken?

GOOD LUCK! The purpose of this presentation is to introduce yourself and your classmates to the many historical photographers in the world and recognize their contributions to the photographic arts. We are standing on the shoulder of giants my friends and we should pay homage to the men and women who have helped advance photography to higher levels.

 

 

 

Light Painting Photography

Light Painting Photography

Light orbs, fire wheels, light drawings, 3D light extrusions and more – they are all heaps of fun, super creative and surprisingly easy to do! There is no hard and fast rules for how to do them, but here is what works well.

Saul Gonzalez Light Painting 2

All you need is your Camera, a tripod, some kind of light, maybe some string, LED lights, flashlights, Christmas lights or Light Sabers!

  1. Get your camera on a tripod: Yep, you do need one, or at least, a place to rest the camera so that it doesn’t move during the photo, which can be quite a long time – 5, 10, 15, 30 seconds or even longer!

 

  1. Frame up your shot: Best to do this now, before you start focusing etc., because on some lenses when you start zooming in and out to compose your shot, it throws off your carefully pre-set focus you will be doing next. Don’t forget to use MANUAL FOCUS and ensure that you’re shooting wide enough to fit in your whole intended light drawing.

Focusing: The basic trick here is that you have to pre-focus your camera with Manual Focus to ‘lock in’ the focus before you start taking shots, because as usual in these low-light situations, the camera will often struggle to find anything to focus on if you just leave it to it’s own devices. It’s easier to pre-focus with a friend – get them to go and stand where you’re intending to do your light painting, and then have them shine a torch or something at the camera, or alternatively you shine a torch on them to make them visible – either way, it should be pretty easy to focus on the lit subject.

  1. Camera settings: I’d recommend using TV mode on your camera’s Mode Dial (this is the same as ‘S’ mode on non-Canon cameras). This is the mode where you select whatever length of shutter speed you want, and the camera works out what aperture /f # must go with that to produce a correctly exposed image.

 

  1. Scroll your shutter speed out to whatever length you think you will require to do your light painting. Better too long than too short! 10 seconds (looks like 10 ” on the camera display) is plenty for a simple light drawing. Bigger more complex light painted scenes can take 30 seconds or more!

 

  1. As for your ISO take it off the AUTO setting and try setting it to 100 or 200. This will allow the colors of the lights to much more vibrant and visible. If you would like to see more of the subject/person holding the light use a higher ISO like 400.

Saul Gonzalez Light Painting 3

This is super easy – in theory! Pretty much all you’re doing is drawing an image in mid air with some kind of glowing light source (like a flash light, or it could be a glow stick, or whatever) and the path your light follows will trace itself into your photograph as a glowing trail. It’s actually harder than it looks to remember where you’ve already drawn – it’s like trying to draw with your eyes closed, but practice makes perfect.

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DIPTYCH & TRIPTYCH PHOTOGRAPHY

DIPTYCH & TRIPTYCH PHOTOGRAPHY

Diptychs are two photographs; Triptychs are three that have been placed together to tell a single, intertwining story. While diptychs can be as unique as their creator’s imagination, the most popular ones can tell a simple story.

Photography is about visual communication: sharing stories, ideas, and feelings through images. A diptych of two images, or parts of two images, is an impact full storytelling tool. Look for thematic, composition, and other visual synergies that will make your diptychs more powerful than the sum of their parts.

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Diptych and triptych come from the Greek meaning two (dip) or three (trip) fold (tych). Many modern artists create pieces that are designed to be on display together and the diptych and triptych have become very popular story telling devices.

As well as being great story-telling devices, diptychs and triptychs are visually pleasing and help make use of photos that may not work on their own.

Collecting Acorns

There is no right or wrong when it comes to these composites so play, have fun and put together whatever feels right. Think complimentary images or think completely opposite images! Try color combinations, pictures with a running theme, things that show movement or photos that show the passage of time. The possibilities are endless!

 

Shutter Speed Priority

ShutterSpeed_

What is shutter speed?

The shutter speed refers to the length of time the opening in the lens remains open to let light into the camera and onto the sensor. The shutter speed can be as fast as 1/10,000 of a second or as slow as several minutes.

How does your choice of shutter speed affect the photograph?

Fast shutter speeds have the effect of freezing motion in the scene you are photographing. Conversely, slow shutter speeds will blur motion in a scene. Both of these can be used to great creative effect.

The chart below shows how different shutter speeds would effect the sense of motion if you were photographing a person running. Fast shutter speeds will freeze the motion. This technique is often used in sports photography. The slower the shutter speed becomes, the more blurred the person running becomes in the photograph.

shutter-speed-effect-chart

FROZEN MOTION: FAST SHUTTER SPEED

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BLURRED MOTION:SLOW SHUTTER SPEED

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Aperture & Depth of Field

1) What is Aperture?

Simply put, aperture is a hole within a lens, through which light travels into the camera body. It is easier to understand the concept if you just think about our eyes. Every camera that we know of today is designed like human eyes. The cornea in our eyes is like the front element of a lens – it gathers all external light, then bends it and passes it to the iris. Depending on the amount of light, the iris can either expand or shrink, controlling the size of the pupil, which is a hole that lets the light pass further into the eye. The pupil is essentially what we refer to as aperture in photography. The amount of light that enters the retina (which works just like the camera sensor), is limited to the size of the pupil – the larger the pupil, the more light enters the retina.

2) Size of Aperture – Large vs Small Aperture

The iris of the lens that controls the size (diameter) of the aperture is called “diaphragm” in optics. The sole purpose of the diaphragm is to block or stop all light, with the exception of the light that goes through the aperture. In photography, aperture is expressed in f-numbers (for example f/5.6). These f-numbers that are known as “f-stops” are a way of describing the size of the aperture, or how open or closed the aperture is. A smaller f-stop means a larger aperture, while a larger f-stop means a smaller aperture. Most people find this awkward, since we are used to having larger numbers represent larger values, but not in this case. For example, f/1.4 is larger than f/2.0 and much larger than f/8.0.

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3) What is Depth of Field?

One important thing to remember here, the size of the aperture has a direct impact on the depth of field, which is the area of the image that appears sharp. A large f-number such as f/32, (which means a smaller aperture) will bring all foreground and background objects in focus, while a small f-number such as f/1.4 will isolate the foreground from the background by making the foreground objects sharp and the background blurry.

Vantage Points and Frame

 

(Courtesy Daniel Solomon)
                                                                                                                                            Daniel Solomon

Vantage Point and Frame are essential choices that must be made by photographers no matter what their ultimate goal for image making.

This act of choosing what to include and exclude, what is our central focus and what is on the periphery (outside the frame), as well as the vantage point and point of view of the camera provides context and meaning. The use of the photographic frame as constructed in the camera’s viewfinder is central to reflecting the intentional visual and conceptual concerns in how photographic meaning is considered.

Give particular attention to your use of the photographic frame and your vantage points

  1. Shoot From A Low Angle: Bug/Worm’s Eye View

Shooting from a low angle is probably the most popular alternative to eye-level perspective photography. It can be challenging because you may have to squat, sit, kneel or lie down to capture your image. It’s worth the effort because it provides an out-of-the-ordinary look at your subject and the results can be stunning.

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                                         Saul Gonzalez
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Saturday, Juan Talavera, age 3, left, and his brother Carlos, age 2, right, try some cotton candy from the midway at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds. Daniel Solomon/The Eureka Reporter

 

Start by identifying your subject and find a low angle to shoot from. You might even want to place your camera or iPhone on the ground for additional support. You can use leading lines or anything in the foreground to draw the viewer into your image.

Focus on the interesting angles you find when your camera is really close to the ground or better yet, on the ground, level with or looking up at your subject. You could also experiment with flipping your iPhone so the camera lens is closer to the ground. This will provide an even stronger low-angle effect.

  1. Shoot From A High Angle: Bird’s Eye View

Looking down towards your subject is another way to get a new and unique angle with your perspective photography. You don’t necessarily need to climb to the top of a building to accomplish this, but that is one popular possibility. In fact, if you can gain access to the upper floors or the roof of a tall building, you can discover some amazing vantage points.

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                                                                                                                                                Hannah Vega

There are other ways to get above your subject, whether you’re standing on something that gives you a little lift or if you’re just naturally taller than your subject. It could be as simple as looking down into the cup of coffee you’re holding, with your feet and the ground beneath them included for depth.

 

You could also try this technique with portraits by having your subject lie on the ground or sit and look up at the camera. Just be sure the angle flatters them and enhances their appearance.

Go above and beyond your typical habits and present your surroundings from top to bottom. The view you create might serve as an exciting new perspective that you can use again and again, improving your photography in the process.

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