Learning to “Speak” the Language of Visual Expression
Week 1: Breaking Down the Barriers
The first, critical step to take when learning to shoot or when trying to refresh your work is to learn to see like an artist. This means turning off the brain’s tendency to categorize and sort everything we encounter. While this skill is useful if you are an accountant, for example, it can get in the way of our being able to sense all the dimensions to an object in front of us. Several creative exercises will get you seeing the world in a new way!
Week 2: Turning on the Lights
Without light, we are literally in the dark. Many people think that, to take a great picture, they need good equipment: camera, tripod, film, lenses…. But the most important pre-requisite to photography is light! Light is the photographer’s key ally, but like any work partner, you need to understand how your buddy works. This week you will use your new skills in ‘seeing’ from Week 1 to look at the world in a new ‘light’.
Week 3: The Basic Building Blocks
Now we turn to really looking into how an image is made. By starting with some of the basic building blocks of any composition—be it a painting or a photograph—you will learn to ‘see’ what to look for when casting about for something to photograph. A thorough understanding of the elements that make up a picture will get you seeing like a master photographer! In this section, we will explore the basic building blocks of a picture such as line, form, colour, texture and shape.
Week 4: Putting it Together
A final picture may be composed of only one or two elements of design, or it may be extremely complicated. Starting with more simple compositions, we will use the building blocks of design to ‘build’ some of our own compositions, gradually working toward a more complicated picture. You will learn how to put the building blocks together to convey a certain impression or reveal a particular story.
Week 5: Beyond Design—What’s Your Story?
A haphazard jumble of the elements of design might be interesting to look at, but the key to a great photograph is the idea behind the image. The building blocks of design are just that—tools to help you express an idea or story. This week you will search for a simple story to tell and use your choice of the elements of design to tell this story.
Week 6: The Development of Personal Style
Don’t be discouraged if you feel your work does not stand out to others or if you are unsure of your ‘style’ of shooting. Even if you already feel you know what you like, this section will encourage you to delve deeper into what makes you ‘tick’. If you are true to your inner vision, then you will always create art. If you only find yourself copying others’ work, then you will likely never be fully satisfied with your work. This section will help you fine-tune your ear to hear your inner muse and get on the path of your own personal vision.