Apply design elements in photography/About the course

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In each stage of the course we will look at the theory of a particular design element, put that theory into practice, then review and discuss our efforts. At the end of the course we finish with a folio and exhibition.

We are currently studying five elements in the course:

  1. Frame
  2. Line
  3. Shape
  4. Colour
  5. Light

For each theory we will review a different genre or style of photography, with the aim of preparing you to apply that particular element in your own work, and to talk about how you and others can use the theory.

For example, we start with the design element of “Frame”. The theory of Frame will be presented in a lecture and then you’re asked to apply that theory in a Task of shooting three images using the theory. You’ll then complete a Design Evaluation Report as a way of helping you to understand and talk about the theory in action. To close each theory, we will review and discuss the work in small group meetings. All your work will be saved in the (private) online course gallery.

We will repeat this process of theory, task, and review for each new design element.

The tasks for each theory are not difficult – they’ve been designed to be something that you would normally capture in your day as you go along – definitely not a large production shoot, but the challenges they provide help to strengthen your understanding of your work and refine your shooting style.

To end the course, you will produce two images for a subject of your choice and then write up a short written description about how you have used the design elements in your images and in your work in general.

To get the most out of this unit, you will need to invest in the process and work your way through the tasks as outlined, following each step - as the course is progressive and builds on each stage.

Regarding skill levels, we are all exposed to a broad range of images each and every day and as a result we are a visually literate society, generally with a sophisticated visual language, so advanced skills are not a prerequisite. Those with advanced skills are able to take the knowledge from this course and embed this in their own practice with the aim of really being able to extend themselves and gain a stronger understanding of their own work and the work of others. Those who are just starting out will find that they are able to compose with greater proficiency, gain a solid understanding of their own shooting style, build on their skill base and be able to view the work of others with greater awareness.

I look forward to working with you, and seeing your work emerge in this course. There is a language and grammar of photography out there.