Elements of Good Design
If you understand the elements that make up good design, you’ll have a strong visual advertisement, transparent web page, or an intriguing photograph. These elements of good design apply whether you are sketching a business card, a t-shirt, or photographing a subject under water. Considerations of time, space, technology, light behavior, depth of field, degree of sharpness, color temperature, and the motion that surrounds the subject, are all part of the image capture process; once you can visualize the moment, you’ll have the skills to be a designer. I know I am over simplifying the image gathering process, since there are a myriad of considerations. Occasionally, there is a person with the perceptual talent, to see and pre-visualize this process. All artists I know, have this talent. Despite the fact, some perceptual abilities can be developed over time- but every photographer should be aware of his, her, abstract, perceptual, and spatial limitations- and I will leave it at that.
“Human visual perception is learned, but not in the same way the we learn a language. It can be acquired by education, but not the kind of education that consists of memorizing a new set of symbols.” James J. Gibson
- Distribution of Tones
- Balance & Visual Weight
Having said this in the real world, not all colors are pure, nor are they fully saturated. Therefore, one must combine them in the context of their settings. Some harmonious combinations of these color can be applied to generate contrast; others to contribute to make a coherent image.
In design rhythm is repetition, but this repetition does not need to be completely regular – it can change at times- just like music. Rhythm allows your designs to develop an internal consistency that makes it easier for viewers to understand. Once the viewer recognizes the pattern in the rhythm it can relax and understand the whole design. Repetition rarely occurs isolated, and brings a sense of order into the design. And for this reason, repetition attracts attention and prompts viewers to investigate further.
This question was asked to the class by Professor Bill Du Bois (RIT), on my first semester. We say yes, of course, haven’t you used a wide angle lens, or an extreme fish-eye? – to our revelation the answer was NO! – it is the angle of view, that distorts the image, not the optic.
I like this one, it actually fits my personality- since I like to simplify everything. Poets represent images using simile, metaphor or synecdoche; in photography or graphic arts, viewer’s imagination complete the total picture. Subconsciously your mind already have a record of that object (program of experiences) – so… do you see the ball and the tennis racquet?.
Since camera lenses can only be focused on only one object distance at a time. Theoretically, objects in front of and behind the object distance focused on will not be imaged sharply on the film. In practice, acceptable sharp focus is seldom limited to a single plane. Depth of field is defined as the range of object distances within which objects are imaged with acceptable sharpness ( Leslie Stroebel, Depth of Field, Photographic Materials and Processes, p. 160).
On the sunset image taken from my Florida home’s backyard at f5.6 @1/30sec., the focus is on the plane one third from the foreground. This focus range provides the illusion of sharpness on all planes: from foreground to background. In addition depth of field increases rapidly as the distance between the camera and the subject increases (Stroebel, p.163). One more point, small lens apertures of f32-f64, correlate with greater depth of field, as large aperture of f2.8 -f0.7 correspond to shallow depth of field.
A word of caution, although stopping down the lens aperture increases depth of field, it also increases the diffraction of light, which tends to reduce image sharpness overall. As I recall, the photographic movement of the 30′s, lead by photographers Willard Van Dyke and Ansel Adams, was named f/64- which refers to the smallest lens aperture of a view camera.
First we need to understand the nature of light. I always say in class, “we humans are limited creatures”, true when it comes to perception of light. The human visible spectrum is between four hundred and seven hundred nanometers (400-700nm); the mantis shrimp has such good eyes, it can perceive both polarized light and hyperspectral color vision.
A nanometer is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a meter (10 to the -12 or 10^12). 1micron(1μm) is equal to one millionth of a meter(10^6). Infrared (IR) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometers (µm), and extending conventionally to 300 µm. I guess you get my point, we can only see white light; which is the combination of red, green, and blue light (the primary colors).
For instance, the red apple is not really red; when exposed to white light, it absorbs blue and green, and reflects the third color, red. So, it all depends on the light temperature the apple is exposed to. In the sequence below, the red apple is exposed to three color temperatures, ranging from 20,000 Kelvin degrees to 2,000 (daylight, shade, and fluorescent).