Being a Photographer Means Training Your Eye

Hey all, I wanted you to know about Sam’s online course mostly because I think it is one of the best courses on learning to see (and composition and design) I have seen. I know, I know… I am biased. But judging from the feedback that Sam has received from her students my bias is not far from objective. Most photographers spend their time on the technical aspects of the craft and forget the artistic side of photography. If you want to learn to express yourself in new ways, you’ll need to train your eye. I’ll let Sam take over from here. BTW if you need more information about the course contact Samantha at Happy shooting, Darwin.

Being a Photographer Means Training Your Eye by Samantha Chrysanthou

I teach an online course entitled  Learning to “Speak” the Language of Visual Expression over at Nature Photographers Network. I have received very positive feedback from the students, but one of the most challenging things for my students to wrap their brains around is being able to distinguish between tonal contrast and colour contrast. I think the reason for this is that we humans respond much more readily to colour, or hue, than we do to shades of lightness and darkness. It is easier for us to distinguish between opposite colours than it is to pick out the gradations in tone in the colours themselves. Here is an excerpt from Lesson 3 of the course:

There are two basic elements of design: tone and colour. Tone is the variance in contrast, or the strength or intensity of a particular shade or colour. On an experiential level, colour needs little definition for humans! However, knowing a little of how colour is perceived is important in the study of photography because colour has a powerful impact on the look of an object. The technical definition of colour is that it is the perception of various hues in the refraction of light waves bouncing off an object. White light hits an object and some light waves are absorbed while others are reflected. Humans perceive colour in the reflected wavelengths. In other words, colour does not exist without the interaction between a viewer, an object, and light.

Tone and colour are probably the most important visual elements of design to think about because, in conjunction with light, they create the secondary elements of visual design: line, shape, texture, pattern and perspective. Tone and colour themselves are highly dependent on the direction and quality of light, so you can see how fundamental a good understanding of light is to a photographer.

It’s all interconnected, folks! If you want to astound your friends with your exquisite compositions, then you need to learn how light creates hue and tone and, secondarily, line, shape, texture and pattern. If you want to learn more, there are a few spots left for the next offering of my course – but hurry! Class starts September 1, 2010!

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou


6 Responses to “Being a Photographer Means Training Your Eye”

  1. Her photos are amazing!

  2. Hi Darwin and Sam,

    We’ve just made some major financial commitments, so I can’t take the course this time, but I wanted to tell you that I’m new to photography and in the last year I’ve been devouring the magazines that I can put my hands on. That’s how I discovered you guys (OPC). You convinced me to get a Canon G-11, which I’m continuously discovering!

  3. As one who has taken Sam’s course, I can say that what I learned, both from the excellent content and from Sam’s valuable critiques has greatly improved my composition skills. From an artisitic point of view, this course was the best bang for the buck since I took up photography.

  4. Oh, I would like to take that class! But I’m already in one. Maybe next time. When will be the next session?

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