5 Ways Photography Skills Can Improve Your Graphic Design

Using Photography to Grow as a Designer and Storyteller

For some, making the connection between photography and graphic design is pretty straightforward. Others who don’t consider themselves photographers may not see the immediate benefit of investing the time to learn one more thing.

However, learning even the basics of photography can give a graphic designer many advantages and help them stand out in a saturated market. Not by padding their resumes, but because they can create things that feel more unique. Let’s consider some of the way in which learning photography skills can help you as a designer.

Better Composition and Visual Balance

The rule of thirds applies as much (if not more so) to photography as graphic design. Shooting photography will give you a better eye for how composition impacts overall storytelling. As designers, we are used to just living with the images supplied to us. Producing your own photos will give you a sense of the intentions behind an image. This will help you utilize photos more effectively in your own work.

Work With Original Stock Photography

By taking your own photographs you can produce unique stock images that only you have. This can make you stand out and be less generic. It also means that your photos were shot with your design in mind, rather than it being an afterthought. You can also use macro photography to capture unique textures and patterns to utilize in your design work.

Better Understanding of Color and Contrast

Photography is about capturing the world around us, which is usually vibrant and lively. An image doesn’t look  as attractive when it is is dull and flat. Practicing photography can help creatives develop a better appreciation for how color and contrast impact the tone of a visual story. Since both design and photography rely on color theory, this is another way to explore and build on that.

Creative Inspiration

Running into creative blocks can be one of the most frustrating things for a designer. Photography can provide a creative outlet where designers can stretch their muscles beyond choosing which variation of Helvetica to use in a project. A change in your routine or scenery can help stimulate your creativity and provide much-needed inspiration when you feel a creative block setting in.

Better Visual Communication

Visual storytelling in design often relies on a number of elements. Photography is a very simplistic form of visual storytelling, which is where the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” comes from. If you can convey a story that is compelling and easy to understand in a single snapshot, it will open up your creative ability when it comes time to execute as a designer as well. You won’t feel compelled to simply “fill the space.”

Design and photography are very similar in what they require from creatives. Learning both of these doesn’t make one a “Jack/Jill of All Trades,” it simply is reinforcing your core skills as a creative professional. The more diverse your application of your creativity is, the stronger it becomes and the more freedom you will find in creating compelling images and stories.

Posted on: March 3, 2016

Roberto Blake

Roberto Blake is a Graphic Designer helping Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses improve their branding and presentations. Roberto also teaches Graphic Design and Adobe Tutorials through his YouTube channel and community. Roberto's Photoshop artwork has been featured in publications such as Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative Magazine. See robertoblake.com

2 Comments on 5 Ways Photography Skills Can Improve Your Graphic Design

  1. These are great tips to help grow in your craft. I think it is good to experiment with different photography forms. Thanks for sharing!

  2. enjoyed reading the article. I think you make very valid points.

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