Photography in graphic design is often overlooked by designers, yet plays an important role in your designs. While you could just use a stock photo you found online, there is more to the relationship between graphic design and photography. Good photos can help you create better design and convey your message clearly. However, if you’re new to the photographic arts and want to up your game, read on!
The relationship between graphic design and photography
As a graphic designer, you will often need photos for your designs, and more often than not, these come from stock photo sites. However, if your needs are more specific, or you are working on the marketing material for a product, for example, you may be working with a photographer. Regardless of this, you as a graphic designer should ensure you have the right photos for your design. Photography in graphic design can make or break the design and have a huge impact on the perception and effectiveness of your design. It draws attention and conveys some idea, emotion, or message to the viewer.
Using stock footage
Finding stock footage can be a quick and easy solution in a pinch, and free sites offering photos make it easier. Sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Freepix, and others provide you with great photos across various genres, making it easy to find what you need. However, while using these sites, be sure to check the ‘license’ or the permissions for how you may use the photo. Some photos may be free for personal use, while others are free for commercial work too. Sometimes, you may need to give credit to use the photos, while sometimes you may not. However, it is considered respectful and ethical to give credit to the photographer where possible!
Taking your own photos
If you are looking to use photography in graphic design but are new to the photographic arts, here is a basic guide to getting started! While photography is a skill that you constantly develop with loads of practice, these tips should help you take better shots. Graphic design and photography go hand in hand, and it is important to keep your end goal in mind while setting out to shoot.
Learn the basics:
If you are a complete photography newbie, don’t fret! After all, we all start somewhere and what matters is that you’re taking your first steps. Check for online resources and tutorials on YouTube that can help you understand the basics of using a camera. You want to understand the basic functions and rules that apply to photography to get started.
Plan your shoot:
Planning is perhaps the most important step in any photoshoot. You may find yourself in a situation where you have a very narrow time frame to get your perfect shot. This may be due to having limited time on your set, needing specific weather or lighting, etc. To make sure you can utilize your time on the shoot efficiently and get the perfect shot, plan in advance! Have a clear plan and visualize what shots you want to get.
Get the right aesthetic:
As a graphic designer, you know the feeling when you add an element to your design and it just doesn’t belong. You don’t want this happening with your photo, hence the previous point is so important. Make sure the photos you are setting out to get will fit into the design well and match the entire aesthetic of your design or brand! You probably understand color theory and things like this apply to both graphic design and photography.
Remember the purpose:
Photography in graphic design can have many purposes and it is important you keep the purpose of your photos in mind. Photos can be used to tell a story and can be incorporated to convey a relationship between a desirable quality of experience and a brand. They can also be used to bring about emotions in the form of arresting, shocking or pleasing imagery that can enhance your design.
Put all of this together and you should be on your journey into the world of the photographic arts! Remember not to overthink this, and know that it takes practice to get better at using photography in graphic design. Photography and graphic design both require patience to master, and together will allow you to create great designs.