Move It! – Compositional Devices

Today we discussed how moving the focal point out of the center of the composition can lead to the creation of more interesting photographs.  Three compositional devices discussed were:

Rule of Thirds (dividing the total composition into 3rds and aligning focal point on these imaginary line)

Golden Triangle (aligning focal points on diagonal lines)



Golden Ratio (based on the Fibonacci Sequence)

Some examples:

Portrait Photography/ Golden Ratios, Golden Triangle, Golden Spiral

(Note: Golden Spiral refers to Golden Ratio composition)

Made Ya Look!

e a group critique using the guiding questions below:

1. What drew you to the photo?  Consider: subject, composition and/or story

2. What elements of art (ex. line, texture. value, space) and principles of design (repetition, balance, emphasis, proportion/scale, contrast) are most important in the selected photo?  Why?

3. Where is the photographer relative to the subject? Why is that important?

Getting Artsy

On our first shoot of the year, photography students are already getting “artsy!”

What we discovered this REALLY MEANS is BEING UNPREDICTABLE.

Here are some of the techniques they used:

-change the orientation of the camera (angle, look up, look down)

-change the location/position of the photographer (get closer)

-direct/stage the shoot

-focus on the main point of interest and let other things in the photo be blurry

Look Beyond Borders – Amnesty International 4 Minute Experiment

Inspired by this project, Photo students shot portraits today with a partner in the room that was someone they didn’t know.

They spent 2 minutes looking into each others eyes, followed by some time to talk to each other using the following guiding questions.

  • What the experience was like for you
  • How you feel in new situations where people don’t know you
  • How you think people perceive you
  • How you perceive yourself
  • One thing you wish people knew about you

After this intro activity, students took each others portraits.


When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who – just like us – have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals… Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming… 20 years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron discovered that 4 minutes of looking into each other’s eyes can bring people closer. Using this discovery, we decided to carry out a simple experiment, during which refugees and Europeans sat opposite each other and looked into each other’s eyes. Clearly, it is most important to give each other time to better understand and get to know each other. The experiment was conducted in Berlin: the city, which – first of all – is a symbol of overcoming the divisions, and secondly, seems to be the centre of the contemporary Europe. We wanted the movie created on the basis of the experiment to be as symbolic as possible – and to touch upon the general divisions between people. The experiment participants were ordinary people. The situations were not staged; we wanted to get natural, spontaneous reactions. The people sitting opposite each other had not known each other before and saw each other for the first time during the experiment. What is important, the refugees mostly came from Syria and had not been living in Europe for longer than a year.

Darkroom Experiments

Below are descriptions of darkroom experiments we will be exploring during 4th quarter.

Begin with Paper negatives and Photograms.


Paper Negative: Use a piece of xerox paper, not a film negative, to make a print in the darkroom.

Things to consider– use an image that you 1st alter in photoshop

include text (written or typed in photoshop) in the image

Photogram: Place an actual object on the photographic paper in the the darkroom.

 Other possible experimental techniques to try:

Double Negative:

Definition:  two film strips that are placed on top of each other in the negative carer and then they are printed


place both strips in the negative carrier, do a test strip and a print

Tips: at least one negative should be thin density because your stacking two negatives together your gonna need more light to pass through them .Lower f stop to have more light passing through. more time is another way .Think about how your combining the  images together.


Definition: Developing a picture then your exposing it to more light


Do a test strip and expose the image for the full amount of time.

Instead of developing for the full time ,you decide when to take it out of the developer.

Take out photo put in a small tray and bring it back to the enlarger and flash it with light.

Then birng it back to the devloper and the develop it specific amount of time again for the 2nd time  ,then you do the rest of the process normally.




Rotating the print easel at intervals so that the image prints as a kaleidoscope or mirrored image.


Do a test strip to determine exposure settings.

Set timer for partial times. At each new time interval rotate the print easel once.

Things to consider-photograms can be combined with negatives or used without negatives

-consider the outline shape/silhouette of the object(s) being used

-consider choosing objects with negative spaces

-consider the density of the object and how light with pass through it, for example the lemon

-cut or ripped paper may be used as a photograph element


Darkroom Experiment Tips:

Paper negatives- test strip at f11

Photograms- f8 and 15 secs

Double negatives- teststrip at f 8

Technical considerations – negative density (ideally 1 thin); and negative alignment

Content/compositional considerations – filling negative spaces, size variation (ex. Head shot vs full body), flipping negatives

Image rotation

Solarize- on 2nd exposure, turn the f-stop all the way down to largest opening