Sharpen Your Graphic Edge

People have always been visual thinkers and learners. It's said that the advent of computers, video games, tv commercials, etc. have made us considerably more dependent on visual input for our critical thinking process than ever before. Yet visual signposts are not new to the human condition. In medieval Europe a page could identify the colors and design of a stranger's tunic from half a mile. Ancient caves possess the earliest examples of graphic design, and Greece, home to Gods and Goddesses, has mathematically elegant temples devoted to depictions of graphic and classic design like the iconic Greek key.

All photographic images require a thoughtful graphic quality to be successful. In wedding photography, for example, the graphic elements usually feature the vertical lines of the people contrasted by the horizontals of the pews, red carpets, or dress trains. Professional photographers use composition and light to make a graphic statement, often manipulating the graphic design of an image so it has an edge that hijacks and holds hostage a viewer's attention.

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Keeping your visually graphic edge and attempting new ideas is work. Great design doesn't jump in front of you and lie down at your feet in a neatly wrapped package. It is something you have to search for, wait for, and be ready for.

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Be patient. Wait for the moment when the graphic quality of the photo smacks you upside the head visually. Cookie cutter, formula driven photography makes life easier but it does nothing to advance a design aesthetic that delights your audience or clients. By definition, method photography stifles the surprise and spontaneity of the finished piece.

Do whatever it takes to freshen up your design perspective. Look up. Look down. Go wide angle. Go macro. Be proactive in honing the steel edge of your design arsenal. Stay current - put yourself in the path of inspiration.

Image copyright: Will Sherwood,
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Filed under: Photo Extras April 22, 2009
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