Assignment 2: Elements of Design

In this second assignment I was to look at the elements of design within a photograph and how individually and together these elements can with create an image or work with a focal point to add depth, attention and interest into an already focused image.

“This part of the course will help you to understand and use the basic principles of graphic design in photography”

Throughout this part we have looked individually these principles, verticals and horizontals, curves and straights and shapes also and how these worth within an image and how best to use them within a composition. Taking everything I had learned so far on the elements of design I was asked to produce 10-15 photographs along a theme which will show what I have learned.

I have chosen to use a beautiful selection of French glass tea cups and saucers in a still life setting. I felt this would give me the most control over the images, from composition and lighting, while also creating the best possible examples of the elements of design possible with the subject matter. I also felt there delicate pastel colours would give me something new to work with, where previously I tend to enjoy bright vivid colours.

Throughout these images I have aimed to keep them as unedited as possible, I have cropped and made basic adjustments, mainly to the focal points rather than the background.

Single Point:IMG_4416This first image shows a single point, I have used a slightly shallow depth of field to help the handle stand out slightly with the lighter colour as the single point, however the cup itself is a single point of interest within the frame. I like the colours within the image, the softness of the pink and white with the slight highlights along the rim. I have turned the cup towards the camera to focus the eye on the handle however I feel this disrupts the shape of the tea cup, it would have been best to turn it slightly more to the right or had it parallel to the camera.

Two Points:

IMG_4419To create two points I have added the use of this flower, I think they compliment each other well with the colours as well as the positioning of both off center of the frame, these two points of the image although close together are separate in shape, colour and depth which give them enough difference to work as two points. I feel the shadows on the background are two harsh and could do with being reduced to give more emphasis on the focal points, however to a certain extent they give the image context and further depth.

Several Points in a deliberate shape:

IMG_4446This third image shows several points, each being a tea cup, in a deliberate shape. I like this composition and use of the subject, I think it works well, is soft in colour and design while still fulfilling the brief. I have attempted to arrange the cups in such a way to allow the colours to work well with the ones next to it, I feel I have done this however the two beside the pink seem to be to similar of a colour.

A combination of vertical and horizontal lines:

IMG_3727In this image I have aimed to use an abstract idea in stacking these cups and saucers on top of each other to give both the more dominant vertical but also with the use of the saucers a repetitive horizontal. I like this image and the initial idea of it, I feel it could be improved by using a different lighting setup or even within a light box to give an overall more diffused lighting, this may in turn help with the colouring of the background but yet still give a soft colour to the cups and saucers.

Diagonals:

IMG_4473-EditI think this is one of the strongest images of the group, the strong diagonal of the composition complimented by the shallow depth of field giving an interest that pulls the eye along it, coupled with the subtle colours, although the yellow works well at the end to somewhat balance the pink in the foreground. I think this image again could be improved with a different lighting set up, to give a softer more overall light.

Curves:

IMG_4464This image is an interesting abstract composition, I have used not only the curves of the tea cups but also how they are stacked and the lines that have been created, not only on the overall shape but each individual line and curve working together. I think this is one of the best images that work well with the background, with it being a bit lighter and whiter, but still not pure white so it is lost without a boarder. I think the colours of the cups work very eel here and the hints of the gold trim gets picked up in places.

Distinct, even if irregular shapes:

IMG_4519This image uses both a distinct circular shape, one within the other for cup and saucer but it also has an irregular shape in the top of the coffee itself. I think this image strongly works with the brief incorporating it only multiple layers while also working well as a tightly composed image. I think the slight pink tone to the background works well with the colour of the saucer and the use of the slightly lighter gold trim really defines the shape.

At least two kinds of implied triangles:

IMG_4482This image uses the cups and saucers in a different way, placing it all upside down apart from the pink one. this not only gives the image two implied triangles in the shapes of the up turned cups and saucers but also taking into consideration the other as an overall triangle. I think this image works well with the brief and also creates an interesting image on its own. I like each colour, they are soft and pastel as in the other images while still using the slight highlight to make them stand out that bit more.

Rhythm:

IMG_4493This image is to show rhythm in photography, a subject running across an image that is repetitive and draws the viewer across the image. I think this image works very well in that it does the brief its an nice composition and the alternating cups give an interesting lines throughout the image. I feel that perhaps by getting a bit lower the rhythm may have been a bit more striking and taken the eye more, with the cups seeming larger.

Pattern:

IMG_3792-EditI have attempted in this image to capture a pattern of the cups on there side, it was very difficult to find an angle that gave an honest perspective that complimented the way the cups were laid out. I feel the pattern here is not only the focal point due to the way the cups are positioned and the tightness of the composition but also because it gives the image depth and interest. I feel this image could have been improved if there were more cups. allowing for a smaller cross section to be taken without the edges visible.

Overall I find these images to fulfil the brief well, each one strongly depicts what is required while also being a strong composition individually. They also as a group create a coherent theme and the style is consistent throughout, however I feel the backgrounds on the images let them down, I was unsure wether to have a complete white back ground or to use the pastel shades of the cups to compliment each image. I felt that although on some it worked overall it wasn’t a success and I would like to give it another go to ensure the background not only looks good but does compliment the overall feel of the image and also are the same throughout the images.

This assignment, the exercises before it and part of the course altogether has helped me to further my understanding of the graphic design aspect of photography and how the basic considerations of lines, curves and shapes in an image can really improve the overall image by making something more appealing visually and also to draw attention to specific areas of the photograph. Although before this part of the course these elements were visible in my photography it has taught me to take a more upfront approach with them and to consider them when planning and also taking images based on circumstances.

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