iPhoneography – Part II

So now you know what your camera can do straight out of the box, let’s start getting into the fun creative aspect of iPhoneography

** Watch out for the exercise at the bottom – and send us your pics on Twitter or Instagram!**

Welcome to the wild wild world of ‘Photographic Design Elements’  

“To achieve visual unity is a main goal of graphic design. When all elements are in agreement, a design is considered unified. No individual part is viewed as more important than the whole design. A good balance between unity and variety must be established to avoid a chaotic or a lifeless design” (wikipedia).

So what are design elements REALLY? It’s a simple and complex answer. The Simple is: they make your photo better: The Complex is: the multitudes of elements and HOW you use them to create compelling images. Subtle or Overt.  We’re gong to tackle in the simplest terms the main elements used in composing images. This is where your eye, your style, your taste comes into play with your iPhoneography

Learn the Rules. Then learn how why and when to break them. But most importantly –  KNOW the WHY.

Depth of Field

This is your field of focus. Your camera WANTS to decide for you what and where to focus. You are are going to give a stern talking to and go Manual (AE and AF LOCK). To lock either your focus or Exposure, you need to open your camera, touch the place in your image that you want to lock in the focus (so your camera doesn’t take over and control this) and then wait until the YELLOW AE/AF LOCK block comes on. Now your focus and exposure are locked. Oh – And don’t forget to turn it off later – that could seriously mess your images up when you’re not thinking about it the next time your using your camera.

When you have a choice of close or distant objects to focus on, and it picks close, then the rest of the image will be out of focus. When everything is distant (on a similar focal plane) then the camera will generall y be able to put it all into focus. But when you can CHOOSE what the focal point will be and learn how to use it, it can isolate items in your image, pull your attention to whatever it is you choose to ‘pop’ that element out with focus, then the creative powers are in your hands now! You can choose close, mid distance, far away, or far enough away that its all in focus.

HeadHunters Headshots melbourne
Longer depth of field
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Shallow Depth of field

Quality & Direction of Light

Light changes all the time. But there are 3 things to ‘focus’ on (pardon the pun) when it come to assessing and using.

Quality: Have you noticed that the light looks different from sunrise to mid day to end of day? The color cast (warm early and late – cool daytime and in the shade). Even the seasons from winter to summer vary. Color cast is very important when considering light. Shade is cold, blue, and end of day is a golden cast. Tuck that away in the back of your mind for a bit.

Quantity: Night, Day, Inside & Out.  Natural vs Strobe/Flash short vs long exposure


Front Lighting – this is the most typical use of light.  The light source is directly in front of the subject. You get context, detail, colour. Its the most natural and obvious way to use light and what we’ve all been taught. To place your subject so that the light falls onto the face, or object.

HeadHunters Headshots melbourne
front side back side front

Side lighting you get shadows and texture. Try looking at your skin lit from the side. Its not particularly flattering really. It brings out every little bump. Thats the texture. But it is dramatic!

Backlit is an extraordinary form when used correctly. Its all about shape. You can use backlighting in daytime and expose for the subject but everything else will be over exposed and blown out. You can have some gorgeous sunbeams and filters. Or you can have the dark Film Noire feel when used at night to focus only on the shape and form.

Ghoul Lighting. All I can say to this is unless you are doing a horror movie – dont bother. It’s so unflattering and unnatural. Our eyes are not used to seeing things lit from below and its very strange and awkward and unpleasing to the eye. Creates tension for sure.

Patterns & Broken pattern

HeadHunters Headshots Melbourne

Pattern gives our eyes something to follow, direction, and purpose. Its identifiable, geometric and strong. Close attention to patterns can create a feeling of a bigger picture. What lays outside the frame. Our eyes recognize patterns very quickly and so its great to use in marketing design (think of the big rows of vegetables at your local veggies stand and how appealing and yummy they all look (if they are well organised as well).






On the opposite side of this you’re breaking the rule. Broken Pattern. Use it, but know WHY and HOW. Try and use this with color, placement, and focus. Give the  broken pattern even more impact. The one glass thats empty versus all full, the open window of the apartment building all the rest closed, or the post painted a different color than the rest, the red car in a sea of silver. The main point here being emphasise your broken pattern. Use it to your advantage. The eye will search and find. Let your image do the work for you.

Next Up…more design principles and how to incorporate them into your business!

Todays Exercise. Go out on your lunch break or around the office and LOOK for the direction of the light, where its coming from and then search for patterns and broken patterns and upload your images to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag: #headhuntersmelbourne.

I cant wait to see what you can find today!

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