HEATHER DOUCETTE
A visual communicator aspiring to create playful and dynamic design solutions.

A collection of resources and information on:

THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES FOR SHOWCASING YOUR WORK

To find inspiration on photographic style, check out places like Creative Market or Behance and other sites or portfolios that showcase artist's work. Fads and trends are fun, but don't feel like you have to follow them. Practice and experiment with your own style. Simplicity is often best, but creating your own photographic style can be fun and also separate your work from the rest of the crowd. 

You want your photo to tell a story about your work while conveying the passion and hard work you've put into the actual project. Make sure that your project is clean from any dirt or fingerprints that could possibly show up in a detailed photo shot. If you have an amazing project to show off, a photo of the project with dirt or any other distractions that don't belong will cause the whole project to look like a mess. 

Once you've found a photographic style that works for you, try to keep it consistent with other similar projects which shows a clear purpose and direction. Be consistent with the same background and/or lighting for every photo which will help them look great together. If you look at a collection of photos, all of the differences stand out. The only differences you want to stand out are the differences between each project. 

Composition

You want to make your photos as appealing as possible to generate interest in your project. Composition is about creating one cohesive and clear message with the use of your work, lighting, background, and props. 

ORIENTATION

The orientation you are going to determine usually depends on the where you're photo will be displayed such as a website or in print. If it will be cropped into a square, think about composing the photo in vertical/portrait orientation so the sides of the photo become a guide for the width of your square.

FRAMING

When looking through the viewfinder of the camera to position the shot, imagine as if you are trimming down the distractions to frame your shot as if adding a physical frame to the scene. You want to eliminate any distracting elements from your photo that won't serve any purpose to enhancing your project. They will be easier to recompose during the photo shoot rather than having to remove distracting elements in Adobe Photoshop. Especially if you don't have experience with the program.

DIRECTION AND VIEWPOINT

The direction that you shoot your project will be the viewpoint of your audience. Grouping items from your project together can create interest, especially for smaller items. Take a photo from of the project from above to show it as a whole, or shoot from below to add drama to the image or make the project look larger. Put the project at eye-level by shooting the photo straight-on.

RULES

Some of the formal composition rules for photography, and other forms of visual art include the rule of thirds, leading lines, and center of interest.

The rule of thirds suggests the point of interest should be placed in one of four places found by dividing the photo into thirds and using one point where a vertical and horizontal line meet.

Leading lines suggests that lines can lead into and out of an image, attracting the eye and leading it through the photo.

The center of interest suggests that a photo should have only one main idea or focal point.

Choosing Backgrounds

 Large Indoor Photography Kit

Large Indoor Photography Kit

 Table Top Photography Kit

Table Top Photography Kit

The background of your photo can either make your photo too distracting, or enhance your project and make it stand out to your audience. The right background used consistently throughout your project creates a sense of style, cohesion, and organization. Most backgrounds fall into five different types of categories:

NEUTRAL

If you're unsure about the type of background to use, always go for neutral in shades of white, gray, or black because they are the most simplistic and effective. They can help the photos of your projects look professionally refined. It's best to stick with a soft shade of white or black rather than the brightest white and darkest black because the high contrast can be unflattering or harsh on the eyes.

A soft white background is perfect for a minimalist effect and can easily be found or made by using walls, fabrics, a light tent, or a seamless background. Using a soft white background also gives an effect of cleanliness, high quality, and simplicity.

If choosing to use a black background, it's best to use either a charcoal or dark gray in paper, tiles, fabrics, blackboards, or stained wood. The darker background creates more of a mood or emotion which can enhance the story your project might convey. 

COLOR

A colored background can range from delicate and soft, to bold and strong. They can be made from paper, fabric, walls, or other finds. Use a matte background rather than shiny to reduce any glare. Experiment with different colors that compliment your project.

TEXTURE

Textured backgrounds can also work as a neutral background, while creating contrast, moods, or evoke emotion for your project. Wood, bricks, fabric, and paper work great as backgrounds. If working with fabric, make sure the fabric is ironed, firm and flat, and without any tears or stains unless you want to give your project photo a messy or rustic look. Wrinkled and dirty fabric can also distract from your project. 

PATTERNS

Patterns can be difficult to work with, but might also compliment your project. If the pattern is too loud or dark it can distract from your project. A good pattern should be subtle and compliment the look, feel, and colors of your project. By choosing a pattern with a complementary color from your project, it will help tie the background and project together.

IN SITU

An in situ background is used when you are showing the project in use. Such as a sign or poster hanging on a wall, or tags and labels being used with an actual product. Although you can purchase photo-realistic mock-ups to show off your project from places like CREATIVE MARKET, it's better to create a real mock-up and photo shoot of your project if possible to make it unique. Other people may also be using the same photo-realistic mock-ups which makes your project look more like everyone else's.

Having trouble getting the right shot for your presentation or don’t have the time to take your own photos?
Here are some
DESIGN RESOURCES: 6 PLACES TO DOWNLOAD HIGH-QUALITY FREE MOCK-UPS

Props, Styling & Scale

Props are used to enhance and style your photo scene, while also conveying scale. The props you choose should always be carefully chosen to compliment your project rather than distract from it. Using props such as fake flowers, or mass-produced items that are cheap and not meant to last can reflect poorly on your project. 

The best way to show scale is to photograph your project in situ or with a universal reference prop such as furniture or home accessories, fruit and vegetables, flowers, books, pencils, and potted plants. 

Detail & Texture

The best way to show texture in your project is to create a close up shot in sharp focus. A tripod will help with camera shake and keep the shot in focus. Hard light can be too bright and make the surface look dull or one-dimensional, while soft natural light will highlight details and texture. Try to fill as much of the frame as possible with your project to show off the details.

 

After you’ve finished your photo session and edited your images, you can create a printed or digital version of your presentation or portfolio using a self-publishing site like BLURB or ISSUU to make it look professional.

Do you have any photography tips to share with us? Comment below!