Portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject.
The beautiful A Level portrait on the left has been completed upon a pale brown ground (this provides a mid-tone skin colour and is also left visible in the background). As with using a ground, patterned, decorative or textural items can cover areas of an artwork quickly. Artist Scott Waters produces gripping paintings on a range of found surfaces, including wallpaper, postcards and romantic paperback book covers. Please read this article for more exciting ideas about how to use mixed media within your work. Working in series – completing several paintings or drawings at one time – is a very helpful strategy for Art students.
In addition, when working on several pieces at once, ‘preciousness’ about the work tends to be lost, leading to more experimentation and greater work speed. These photos of Willem de Kooning’s studio show several works in progress pinned to the wall and scattered across the floor. Painting things in an illogical order is surprisingly common amongst high school Art students.
Note: Once you understand how to build up a painting in layers, you will realise that often this involves drawing items in stages also.
These vibrant, architecturally-inspired abstract works by Susan Danko are a prime example of an artwork that must be painted in a logical order. Some students are concerned that it might be necessary to ‘prove’ that a straight line can be painted by hand. Note: This should not be used as justification for avoiding homework tasks set by your teacher! Completed as part of the high school qualification AP Studio Art (2D Design) these drawings are purposefully rendered in small areas only, creating emphasis and directing vision. Deliberately picking out certain parts of a scene to draw has a strong impact on the final work and must be used with care to ensure that the resulting image supports the ideas explored in your project. This contemporary drawing by artist Langdon Graves involves carefully selected regions of a face: well-balanced curving forms of an ear, eye and glasses.
Eliminating certain areas of a scene is a dramatic measure that brings immediate focus to an artwork. Another option that students have is to flatten tone – to remove the smooth blending gradations from dark to light.
In this contemporary oil painting depicting Harrison Ford, artist Brandon Bird carefully positions three realistically rendered figures and a SEGA games system upon a wide flat area of tone (interestingly this is available in prints with different coloured backgrounds). The faces in Annemarie Busschers’ self-portraits are stunningly rendered, with extreme attention given to fine details and irregularities of skin.
There are many occasions where it may be appropriate for a high school student to draw using only line (it is often the application of tone that is time-consuming for students, so working exclusively with line can provide a welcome relief).
Note: It is usually necessary to demonstrate an ability to apply tone at some point to examiner, so it is not wise to exclude tone from your project altogether.
This A Level Art project uses line to show complex architectural details; drawings applied over beautiful mixed media layers, which helps to create rich, visually interesting sketchbook pages.
These works by artist Federico Infante contain a focus on line (in this case used to create residual after-image effects) with tone applied in certain areas only. While there is a certain quantity of painting and drawing that must take place within a Painting or Fine Art portfolio, photography can provide an excellent mechanism for moving a project forward at a faster pace. Photography can be used as a tool to develop composition, as in the beautiful AS Sketchbook pages above. In addition to helping with composition planning, photography can be collaged into artworks or used as painting ground (but not as a mechanism for avoiding observational drawing – this is perceived by examiners as cheating). These artworks by Charlotte Caron show animal faces painted on top of photographic portraits. Producing abstract work is often the first solution that comes to mind for those who work slowly; students can be fearful that this will not allow them the opportunity to demonstrate strong observational skills. This project begins with precise, meticulous realistic drawing, moves towards impressionism and finally abstraction.
Another equally successful strategy is to incorporate realistic elements with abstract works, creating a work that is part realistic, part abstract. Excerpts from this AS Art examination show realistically depicted rotting fruit (partially complete, with edges trailing away) painted upon a rich, torn, abstract background.
There is something surprisingly liberating about painting with a bigger brush – especially if you have previously worked at a microscopic scale, picking out detail the size of a pin prick. Instead of artwork being a laborious process that grinds away for days, images can be created quickly, using rich, expressive mark-making.
These stunning paintings by Jason Shawn Alexander have tighter, more realist faces, with surrounding areas becoming gradually more gestural and abstract.
Even if a final work is realistic and tightly controlled, compositional sketches can be much rougher. Tracing is frowned upon in most circumstances (see our article about observational drawing for more on this), however there are occasions when tracing is a valuable strategy in a high school Art project. You will note that the figure at the far right in the first work has been repeated in both works. These images were created in Photoshop, using scanned images of paintings that were digitally overlaid using different transparencies, with text added.
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Note: If your problem is not speed but procrastination, you may also benefit from reading How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Your Art Homework Done. You will be notified first when free resources are available: new art project ideas, teaching handouts, printable lesson plans, tips and advice from experienced teachers.
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A place to ask questions, post pictures, seek inspiration, and share your tips, hints and advice. I have loads of photos in various frames that used to all sit on bookcases in my living room.

I would try to keep the spacing a bit more more even, and it may be something about the pale frames, but the right arrangement might sort it out. Can you cut paper to size for all of them and then play around with arrangements on the floor or wall? Someone towards the begining of this group posted a useful thread about picture placement.  I think the general rule was to form squares or regular shapes where the outer edges of the pictures line up to form the geometric shapes - makes it look much tidier. Thank you so much for posting this as I read the tip about using paper to mark out placement.
Another good addition to the paper tip is to mark on the paper where the nail needs to go to hang the picture.
Thank you for all the comments so far - have got some work to do but at least I know what I am doing now! This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. Being outdoors and taking lots of photos with exposures to suit eats up a lot of power in your charge.
Take the biggest size capacity memory card or memory stick (if it’s a Sony) because believe me, you’ll need it. When taking pictures of fireworks with your tripod, one trick to use is to keep the shutter button down for the entire time the fireworks have exploded in their array of colour. If your camera is an SLR or has some good manual controls then you can choose how you want the fireworks to come out.
Once you feel confident to start learning how to take photos of fireworks, try an event and good luck!
Love your articles Amy, they’re extremely interesting, especially since I am new to photography. We have fireworks in my street this time every year, even though they are small, I can still apply the principles.
Could you message me with a few pointers about how you made this site look this cool, I would be thankful.
I absolutely love this site, information like this is so important to my digital photography. I haven’t really seen any truly striking black and white fireworks photos, are you sure you want to do black and white? Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising.
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURESome of the links I drop on this website are affiliate links, and that means I earn some commission if you purchase through my links. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is usually the person’s face, although the entire body and the background or context may be included. On the right, a wash of ochre, blue and brown provides a background to the drawing black and white pencil drawing.
Although this strategy should be used with care, selecting only materials which support or enhance your project (usually with reference to a relevant artist model) this can be a great way to speed up your project and introduce creative use of mixed media.
Note that the chosen surfaces are integral to the message in the work; the shattering of domestic bliss. Although creating a glorious working environment such as this is not possible in most high schools, many Painting classrooms have small pin board alcoves which can be used to display work in progress. In almost all cases, the background should be completed first, followed by the middle-ground, ending with the foreground. These paintings would have been exceptionally tedious had the rays of light had been painted first.
His charcoal tool drawings combine precise, analytical outlines (which fade away and are incomplete in places) with perfectly rendered areas and gestural, and expressive mark-making in some of the negative spaces left around the tools.
As with the previous option, this allows you to demonstrate strong observational drawing skills, while saving time by omitting part of the scene. This drawing by high school student Madeleine depicts only men walking down a street – with all aspects of the surrounding obscured. This strategy should be used with caution – and usually only in certain areas – as unintentionally flattening tone can be the hallmark of a weak student. Blind drawings, contour drawings, cross contour drawings and other hatched drawings (please see our collection of beautiful line drawings for ideas) can form an important part of your project. This helps to draw the viewer in to the world of the central figure, so we share the emotion of this captured moment in time. Rather than ordinary snapshots of source material, the photographs here are complex digital manipulations, which help refine ideas and compositions. If the photograph remains visible in the final work, less paint needs to be applied, thus speeding up the art-making process. This allows a student to benefit from speed in the later stages of the work, while still having the opportunity to flaunt superb observational drawing skill.
You will soon discover that it is just as easy to achieve clean edges with a larger brush and that an unexpected level of detail can be achieved. Those who have only produced realist, tightly controlled drawings usually take some time to adapt to this approach and not all students find it easy; selection of the right drawing tools and mediums can help. This is a superb strategy for creating focal points and creating rich, gutsy images that command attention. A number of other time-saving strategies have also been used in the second work, such as painting on a ground, fading images away, using line only in places and incorporating abstract elements. Once a student has practised using image manipulation software (such as Adobe Fireworks or Photoshop) creating images and then printing them can be a very fast way to create amazing artworks. Professionally printed onto high quality paper, these works integrate seamlessly with other hand-generated works. Amiria has been a teacher of Art & Design and a Curriculum Co-ordinator for seven years, responsible for the course design and assessment of Art and Design work in two high-achieving Auckland schools.
If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional. For a start, understand that fireworks are short lived, explosions of colour which have an intensity lasting for just a few seconds.
Once captivated and determined to get a really good picture, you’ll be there for as long as it takes snapping away and will most likely loose track of time.

The picture will be compressed when you get it onto the computer and email it anyway, so chose the highest resolution so the image does not loose clarity and so that even some of the noise from the night sky will be compressed. It’s not until they are in the sky that you can really tell where to focus, what to focus on, how to set the camera, and you can’t do all that in a few seconds. The moment they show signs of fading, release your finger and let the camera close the shutter. But not too long: I recommend holding the shutter button down, or release the cable after about one and a half seconds up to five seconds. Now that I’ve given you something to think about with your exposure why not try altering your angle? Make sure it’s a good clear shot without street lights getting into the camera to detract from the beautiful images on your photo, or passing cars that may potentially create light streaks in your picture.
She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. You can use old calendars and magazine photos and frame them, a collection of a few large black and white family photos, or pictures that you have taken from your travels – there are plenty options how to add style and color to your walls with gallery walls.
The skilful, perfectionist student usually falls into this category; those who produce meticulous, highly-detailed observational drawings or paintings. Your control of a paint brush can be ascertained immediately by looking at the remainder of your painting. Drawings, especially those in sketchbooks, can be left with edges trailing away and tone only applied to some areas. As indicated by the artist examples below, however, there are times when all or parts of the tonal variation within an artwork can be omitted with great success.
Most enjoy picking up a larger brush – even if this just becomes a way for creating grounds and applying background layers. Charcoal, chunky 5mm wide graphite leads, Indian ink, big brushes and paint applied with pieces of card all lend themselves to gestural mark-making (please read Beyond the Brush: Inventive Mixed Media Techniques if you are looking for more ideas). Amiria has a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Taking pictures of fireworks involves a little bit of planning, not just point and shoot and hope for the best. They need the depth in a shot, so make sure the composition is in keeping the appearance of being ‘big.’ After all, you want to convey their majesty and power in the photo. There is nothing worse than the camera running out of power at the crucial moment or the thing blinking at you, saying you have one shot left and you haven’t finished! What you are doing here is keeping the ‘eye’ of the camera open long enough for the light and colour to get into the lens, senor and create a grand image for you.
Also choose a spot where people won’t constantly walk in front of the camera, stare at it and wave whilst you are trying to take the picture (pet hate). This can enhance the creativity of your angle and shots by simply using a different movement on your camera. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.
Parents and teachers can be unsure how to provide practical, positive strategies for improvement.
It can act as mid-tone, with only black and white used to apply dark and light areas (as in the examples below) or be left partially visible in the final work. If you make the mistake of painting the tree first, the sky has to be meticulously painted around every leaf and branch: an irritating task that takes hours (and ends up looking a little shabby). Leaving work unfinished is particularly useful when conducting visual research, exploring ideas and experimenting with media.
Even if this style of working is not your preference and not something you wish to pursue, it can be useful to practise, particularly when planning compositions and drawing from life. Getting good digital shots of fireworks is about using your settings properly to expose the picture without getting too much noise in the picture.
Perhaps even pick something in the distance that you think might be the same distance away as the fireworks would be, and set the camera to that. Longer exposure times do indeed compensate for the lack of light, but the only draw back with digital is that the longer the aperture stays open, the more noise creeps into the photo. If you’re not sure, try both types of exposure and a something in between and see what you like best.
This article lists fifteen ways that a high school Art student can work faster, without compromising the quality of their work. This results in an artwork that is much faster to complete (see our article about painting on grounds for more information). Painting the sky first, however, means that a large brush can quickly be used to paint the sky, with the tree then easily added over the top.
Once mastered, this trick can save you hours – and make your paintings sharper, cleaner and more professional in the process. Depending on your artist influences, this may even be appropriate in final works – as a way to draw attention to focal points and direct attention within an artwork. If you choose auto focus you’ll find your shot will be gone as the fireworks evaporate into the blackness of the night sky. Open both pictures in PhotoShop; select a rectangle or freeform part on the sky of the second photo, copy that as a layer on top of the first photo, then merge the results. Painting in the correct order also results in a painting that has layers (which gives it a richness and lustre, as with using a ground). Angle it so that the shot is 90 degrees vertical, and even whereby the bottom of the picture is at an angle. If you find that subsequent layers of paint do not adequately cover earlier ones, you have an inferior brand of paint.

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Comments to «Tips on photography composition handout»

  1. Lady_Zorro on 10.03.2015 at 16:56:58
    Enough time for begin and.
  2. NEW_WORLD on 10.03.2015 at 13:56:38
    Photography is where you and carelessly and hope lines, and.
  3. LIL_D_A_D_E on 10.03.2015 at 19:42:23
    Will seem as if they have been.
  4. ILQAR_909 on 10.03.2015 at 10:32:37
    The tripod constructed-in autofocus fast-paced.