Photography and the designer

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” – Irving Penn, fashion and portrait photographer

As a visual device, photography is essential to a graphic designer. A photograph can hold a conversation with the viewer, conveying or reinforcing the meaning and in turn persuasion, as far as aesthetics and the communication of the desired message are concerned.

Captured in the slightest of moments, a photograph can portray many things. Perhaps something that is rich in colour, emotion and vibrant energy, or maybe something more sedate, monochromic with a stillness and solitude. With an adjustment of the light, focus and exposure (the triangular fundamentals of capturing the image), it is possible to create a varied and diverse portfolio of images, all beginning with a simple concept and a bit of thought.

Good photography makes a job easier. Great photography makes it a pleasure.

As a designer, the development of this skillset greatly informs the understanding of how to capture an image. If a photographer is to be commissioned for an assignment, it becomes much easier and quicker to communicate the concept behind the outcome that is desired.

When it comes to editing or designing with well composed imagery, the other design elements (such as logotypes, typography, colour etc.) hold effortlessly within the overall layout. Good photography makes a designer’s job easier. Great photography makes it a pleasure.

For me personally, my photography serves as an enjoyable outlet that allows me break out of the routine of desk-based design (at least until it comes time to edit the photos – selecting which shot you use can often be the most time-consuming stage). It’s a chance to listen to my own creative desires rather than what the client wants. Though that itself is nonsense; being a creative and your own client can make it awkward in attaining ‘perfection’.

Over the years I’ve studied in many creative pathways alongside design – narrative and the written word, illustration, letterpress and traditional print, to name just a few. Yet it is the photography that has always left me wanting more.

With the ever-increasing pace and rise of digital photography and higher quality cameras within smartphones, there are more photography apps, forums and sharing platforms than ever before. For years, I have owned an iPhone and a simple point and shoot pocket-sized Canon Ixus 960IS, which, for covering the basics and using the automatic modes, work perfectly fine.

An opportunity to watch the America’s Cup World Series Sailing event in Gothenburg changed all that. I had a unique chance to get close to the action and felt I required something a little more substantial. Once I acquired my digital SLR, however, I began to wish I’d carried on with the manual SLR I had owned since university, noting the manual operations and the creativity and experimentation that the camera allows.

Having enrolled on a local course at the Broadway Cinema, and tutored by local photographer Ashley Bird, it helped me regain my confidence in this area, give me the opportunity to update my knowledge, learn new techniques, photograph new subject matter and explore the boundaries of my equipment (purchasing a few new items along the way – looking at you, 50mm prime lens…).

The next installment of the course begins this April, and I looking forward to building upon the knowledge of the previous course and develop my photography further in the coming months.

As some of you may have noticed already, we all contribute to the RealEdge Instagram account from time to time, not necessarily with work related items but sometimes more personal expressive images. Keep an eye out for some of my work appearing in future posts.

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” – Irving Penn, fashion and portrait photographer

Written by Gareth Wyld, designer at RealEdge

2017-06-12T12:54:48+00:00