Picture This

Photography is an art form that has its own set of rules. Knowing the rules can help a photographer create photos that are pleasant to look at. Knowing the rules also gives a photographer the ability to know when breaking them would lead to a better photograph.L04 Depth ProPhotographer: Ruvim Miksanskiy on Unsplash

Deciding where to focus can give a photo just the right amount of blur in the background. Depth of field is useful when a photographer wants to showcase a particular part of the picture, like the nose on this deer.

L04 Depth Pro PS

Notice how everything but the nose is blurred. The f-stop on this lens was so wide that it created a sharp focus on a small part of the deer and left the rest blurred. The eyes are out of focus and the body has simply become bokeh in the background.L04 Depth of Field (1 of 1)

Another animal photo showing depth of field. The eye and fur are in sharp focus.

L04 Depth of Field PS

The depth of field in this is not front to back, rather the focus is on the middle field of view. The foreground is out of focus as is the background.L04 Thirds ProPhotographer: Ben Lambert on Unsplash

Each photo can be divided neatly into three vertical and horizontal planes, or thirds. Placing the subject in one of these planes is pleasing to the eye. Using the rule of thirds draws the viewer’s eye into the composition.

L04 Thirds Pro PS

If the subject is small, place it on one of the intersections of the grid. If it is large or long, place it along one of the lines or in that third of the photo. In this photo, the subject’s upper body is in the left third of the photo. The viewer’s eye is drawn to the subject and then to where he is gazing. This photo is composed to evoke a sense of smallness and wonder at something greater than oneself.L04 Rule of thirds (1 of 1)

Is this a chair or a bench? By placing it partly in the right third of the photo and partly out of the frame, it leaves the interpretation up to the viewer.L04 Rule of thirds PS

The arm of the seat juts into the middle third of the photo, but the majority of the seat is in the right third. If the seat were placed directly in the middle of the photo, it would not draw the eye into the photo as effectively.L04 Lines ProPhotographer: Will Truettner on Unsplash

Leading lines are another way to draw the eye toward the subject of the photo. When a photographer wants to pull someone’s attention to a particular point, leading lines can be effective. Frames are a form of leading lines that create a box rather than a path for the eye.

L04 Lines Pro PS

The lines of the rocks form an inverted triangle that moves they eye toward the lighter part of the photo. There’s also a subtle point with the two rocks that sends the eye toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge itself is a leading line that takes the eye from one side of the bay to the other.
Leading Lines (1 of 1)
Leading lines can be straight or curved like these roads. The curves soften the photo and give the photo a calm feeling. One glaring line is the street lamp in the foreground. It leads the eye away from the curved roads. It is a harsh line that is softened by the curves in the road.Leading Lines PSThe curves evoke a sense of interest. What’s around that corner? What is the woman in the foreground looking for or expecting? Is there someone at the end of that long and winding road?


Knowing the rules makes composition interesting. Using these tools can take a photograph from mundane to wow. A good photographer can create photos that stand out by using these simple rules. It takes some practice to get your mind to see things in terms of these three rules, and it wi well worth the effort.


What’s Your Type?

Typography Post

The image above is the cover of the book Carried by Michelle Schmidt and Angie Taylor, found on the Deseret Book website. The image is of Michelle Schmidt holding a photo of her daughter.

When designers work with fonts, they don’t just randomly choose something that looks nice. They use the principles of design to catch the reader’s eye and keep it there because the type is interesting. Contrast is the best way to do that. Contrast in typefaces is achieved using size, weight, structure, form, direction, and/or color. The typefaces on this book cover are a study in contrast.


Typography Post Sans Serif
The first font on the cover is a sans serif typeface. Sans serif typeface has no ornamentation and that gives it an immediate contrast with any serif fonts. They have virtually no thick/thin transitions in the letters. The letters are all one weight. Sans serif typefaces are uniform in appearance and allow a wide variety of fonts as contrast.

Typography Post Script

The second typeface on the book cover is a script typeface. It appears to be hand written in a cursive style with letters joined together. It contrasts boldly with the sans serif typeface. The two typefaces are as different as a tuxedo is to a sweatsuit. Each is appropriate at specific times and places, but when the two are together, the contrast is apparent. In design, unlike at a gala or the gym, contrast is desirable to keep things from being boring.

Typography Post ColorThis book cover shows several different examples of contrast. The title is large as compared to all other type on the page . The color of the title is orange, while the author bar is blue. The subtitle is above the title as opposed to below it as is usually the case. The subtitle uses both fonts. This book cover is eye catching not just because of the photo, but because the type adds rather than detracts from the emotions of the photo.


Flossing Through the Ages

This minimalist design is effective at making the point. It uses contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, and color to help the viewer reach the conclusion that modern floss is worlds better than ancient prototypes.

Image retrieved from https://dereklputnam.wordpress.com/tag/billboard/


The ad uses rough twine to contrast with smooth modern floss, giving the viewer a sense of comfort. The container also elicits a sense of cleanliness as opposed to the dirty twine of millenia ago. The brown and blue are subtly contrasting warm and cool colors. The contrast is not as stark as orange and blue, but it is effective. The contrast of 2010 BC with 2010 is also subtle, but effective. Side note: Neanderthals used dental floss. It fell out of favor, but was reintroduced in 1815 by American Dentist Levi Spear Palmer. It was made of silk until WWII when nylon became the material of choice.

Week 2 Contrast


2010 is repeated on both sides. The bends in the floss are also repeated elements making the point that people have been flossing for millennia, but there’s a better way today. The idea is that any other floss might just be primitive.  The gradient is repeated on both sides with the edges darker than the center highlighting the bend in the floss. The bends on the right are graceful, on the left they appear forced, another way to say that the modern floss is more comfortable.

Week 2 Repetition


The dates are aligned equally on each side. The viewer’s eye is drawn first to the dates and then travels over each of the floss examples. The end of the ancient floss and the container of the modern floss are aligned at the bottom suggesting that the container holds a convenient amount of floss whereas the twine is single use.

Week 2 Alignment


The ancient floss bends toward the modern floss, the modern floss bends away from the ancient suggesting that the past was looking toward the future, but the future is not giving a nod to the past. Instead, the future is making its own, better way forward.

Week 2 Proximity


The brown of the ancient floss and background suggest that it was more dirty and unsanitary. It evokes feelings of old fashioned practices that need to go away.  There is no obvious dirt or grime, there doesn’t need to be because the brown of the floss and background suggest it while blue, the color of pristine water, creates a sense of cleanliness.

This ad caught my eye. The more I dissected it, the more I realized why it caught my eye. It works well visually for me. There may be more reasons than those I listed why this ad works. Perhaps there are some I have missed. If you see any, please comment. The best way to learn is from each other and I value input.