Principles and Portraits

Unit Overview

This unit focusses on Portrait Photography with an emphasis on the Principles of Design. This Powerpoint give various examples of portrait photography that use the Principles of Design effectively.

What are the Principles of Design?

Balance: Equal visual weight; Elements can be arranged symmetrically, asymmetricall, or in a radial fashion. To create balance, make sure the elements are arranged throughout the frame, not just on one side.
This photo is balanced. It is somewhat symmetrical, but the view of the turtle is not straight on, making it somewhat asymmetrical. The fingers balance out the photo because they are on both sides of the turtle.
Emphasis: Placing importance on a particular area; creating a focal point. To create emphasis, you can frame the focal point using elements within the frame. You can also alter the color, having the focal point in color and the rest of the photograph in black and white. Another technique is to have the focal point in focus and the background blurred.
This photo emphasizes the lizard using color to highlight the lizard. This was accomplished using photo editing software.
Unity: Repeating of similar element that unify the frame. The capture unity, make sure to include similar shapes, colors, or textures.
This photo illustrates unity because the star fish are the same size and shape. They are also lying in a similar fashion.
Movement: Motion; how the eye travels throughout the frame. You can illustrate movement in two ways. You can have blurred objects that suggest movement. You can also place objects strategically to make the eye flow throughout the frame.
This photo illustrates movement because of the how the eye travels to each flower. The eye begins at the first flower in the lower right corner, flowing from each flower, then following the branch back into the photo.
Pattern: Repeating elements that repeat in a sequence. You can capture repeating elements or include a backgroudn that includes a pattern.
This photo illustrates a pattern because of the repeating leaves. They repeat in a very similar fashion. Also the texture of the tree adds to the repeating sequence.
Rhythm: A visual beat. To create or capture rhythm there needs to be repeating elements that change slightly within the frame. For example, waves repeat but they change slightly in shape, value, and direction.
This photo illustrates rhythm with the repeating shapes and lines of the mushrooms. They repeat, but they also change shape and direction slightly.
Contrast: A large difference between elements. For example, there can be a contrast in value, color or texture.
This photo illustrates contrast because the light yellow flower is very different from the dark green leaves of the background.

What is Portrait Photography?



Formal Portraits

Definition: Simple portrait style emphasizing the person and nothing else. Typically the person is posed. The person is the main and only part of the photograph.
Inside Formal Portrait: Place the person in front of a plain, neutral background with appropriate lighting.
Outside Formal Portrait: Place the person in a location where the background is as plain and neutral as possible, for example a wall, the sky, a lake, etc.
Examples: Typically school portraits and portraits taken in a photography studio are considered formal portraits.

Candid Portraits

Definition: A photograph that captures a person going about everyday life and activities. The person is not posed but captured doing normal activities. The person being photographed should not be noticeably aware of the photographer, therefore, he/she not be looking at the camera. The person, however, is the main portion of the photograph.
Examples: A person playing a sport, an instrument, lounging, eating, etc.

Environmental Portraits

Definition: A photograph of a person that captures and utilizes the surroundings to tell that person's story. Environmental portraits show the person's face and the person's life. In this type of portrait, the person does not have to be the main part of the photograph. The environment may or may not be larger than the person in the photograph.
Examples: A person working at his/her job; a musician or artist working; an athlete performing, etc.

Detail Portraits

Definition: A photograph of a person that does not include the entire person's face or body. A detailed portrait may not even include the person's face, but instead be a close-up of the person's hands, feet, etc. A detailed portrait fills the frame with the body detail.
Examples: A person's eye, hands, feet, portrion of the face, etc.

Teacher and Student Examples


Project Requirements

1. View the Powerpoint on Principles and Portaits.
2. Define the Principles of Design.
3. Read the portrait chapter in Focus on Photography and complete the worksheet.
4. In groups of 3, take photographs of each group member. Take at lest 20 photographs of each person (40 total).
5. Edit the photographs according to the Principles of design. Edit at least 10 photos for each person (20 total).
6. Take at least 20 photographs of people outside of the classroom. Edit at least 10 photos.
7. Choose your favorite 6 photos to print.
8. Create a photobook to illustrate your 6 photos. Your photobook must illustrate a unifying theme.