Manifesto

Photographic Design Workshop teaches serious photographers to create more powerful, engaging and expressive imagery through photographic design and applied aesthetics.

Photography, as visual communication, is most effective when a picture inspires an aesthetic experience by engaging the viewer while clearly communicating the intent of the photographer.

And—although the perception of beauty is certainly subjective—a great photograph also communicates the aesthetic style of its maker.

A great photograph begins in your mind, is then captured by the camera, processed in the computer and ultimately finished and displayed as a fine print.

The moment of exposure is crucial, but the most important work in making a good photograph happens before and after the shutter is pressed.

But too often, we mindlessly snap away, producing pictures we are unsatisfied with and wasting the precious time we have to practice our craft.

Random actions produce random results. A photograph is unsuccessful when it depends on specific knowledge from the viewer or leaves us wondering what the photographer is trying to say with the image.

Instead, to create powerful, expressive photographs, we must instead apply a design methodology. Design serves to help us to establish objectives, identify barriers to success and create satisfying outcomes.

Photographic design is not about camera make or model, or the choice of computer and editing software.

It’s all about how you use your mind, develop your vision, cultivate your aesthetic sense and ultimately direct your photographic process to achieve specific results.

The essential actions underpinning effective photographic design include

  • Establishing your intentions and purposes for each photograph
  • Working to a plan through conscious choices and deliberate actions
  • Identifying and solving problems
  • Striving to achieve clearly defined goals
  • Evaluating the results

We also edit our photographs using the same criteria as when making them. Improvements to the design of a digital image can (and should) be made using your computer; every photo stands to be made better through some amount of digital processing. Simple yet powerful techniques such as cropping and straightening, fine-tuning tone and colour and applying local creative adjustments are intrinsic to our photographic design process. Lastly, a great photograph is not finished until it’s produced as a fine print and exhibited for viewing.

Photographic Design Workshop is a safe, supportive and inspiring place for learning these methodologies and mastering their application.

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