ImageZ Club Night – Tools Not Rules – Guest Speaker Caroline Preece
Attendees 35 9.5.23
Caroline Preece gave ImageZ members a very inspirational presentation on Tuesday evening. Caroline’s talk entitled ‘Tools not Rules’ talked of “photography as a visual language.” She explained that this presentation was about empowerment and sharing things she had learned on her photographic journey.
She hoped that by the end of her presentation we would view photography as a form of communication and by understanding the psychology behind visual design this would help us to learn about compositional tools, we could use to create impactful images that conveyed mood, feelings, and energy. It was to help us to become aware of what we want to communicate to the viewer and to discover tools to help us do this. She felt we could then have a choice in designing our photos and know why we want the composition we have chosen.
The presentation was split into three sections.
Section one explained Photography as a visual language.
Section two covered the psychology of how we make sense of the visual world. Caroline used some Gestalt theories to explain further within this section.
Section three explained the tools that we can use and why and how they work.
We were shown an image of children playing in the water. This image gave a feeling of joy, play friendship. In contrast another image with three children looked edgy, challenging and like a gang-like. This image gave a completely different feeling.
Caroline explained that when we understand visual design, we can make the viewer look at the image in the order we want them to. Help them to feel what we want them to feel. We can let the viewer into our world. In the image of the man riding the bicycle in the rain we can feel that he must be wet and uncomfortable because we are peering through steamy windows.
Caroline stresses the importance of photographing things we are interested in as we cannot produce images with feelings that a viewer can connect to if we are not interested in the subject. She went on to say we need to think about what we are trying to say, what feeling are we trying to convey and what story is behind the image.
Caroline then went on to explain Gestalt theories in relation to photography and visual content. We looked at how our brain makes sense of what we see.
In the third section we looked at a guide of the things which pull the eye change with context.
Caroline went on to discuss tools we could use to enhance our work and give us choice within our images. When looking where to place our subject for example Caroline said we must look at, “where and how to place the subject to give more visual intensity by placing it in a particular position. For example, the image with the gentleman in glasses writing, his position draws attention to him and because he stands out from the background. We look at him and want to know what he is doing.
We looked at Central Placement /Static balance.
Caroline explained “People instinctively look at the centre of an image. They think that will be the most eminent position. The centre is balanced and has low energy. If you place your subject in the centre, you may need to get energy from something else in the picture. The nature of the subject, other elements in the picture, colour for example.”
She said, “If a subject is leaving an image close to the edge (Like the little girl in the picture) this creates tension and energy because she is leaving the picture quickly.”
We looked at vertical lines used to increase the width of an image and horizontal lines which can give energy and make the eye travel up and down the photo. Caroline said that the diagonal lines are the more dynamic as we wait for it to fall. We looked at colour to create mood and draw our eyes. An example was a small boy in a bright orange jumper immediately drew the eyes to the boy as the central figure between his parents both dressed in dull colours. We looked at the use of light and dark. These are just some of Caroline’s examples of ways to create visual intensity.
There were many more which you can revisit in the recording.
The talk was very thorough with great depth and needed time to absorb all the information.
The recording and is on our members website for two weeks to enable members to watch it again and take notes if necessary.
Caroline also suggested books and videos to help us with all the ideas raised in this presentation. There is an image below showing these. There was a question session at the end of the talk.
Caroline suggested that we research a subject, look at many different images and be conscience of the effect they have on us.
This presentation was very thought provoking very well presented by Caroline who made our members think differently see how we can use these ideas in our work.
Next Week: Imagez – Best of the Best – to be held in the hall.