For many years I was active in the advertising business. On both sides of the table. I even educated people in the industry, once again, from both sides of the table. In structuring efficient messaging.
Believe it or not.
In advertising you have what is called page traffic. It is what happens when people browse through a magazine or a newspaper. As an advertiser you need to stop them along the way to get attention for your expensively paid message. Today, media might be somewhat different but the basics are the same. You need to secure the attention and the interest of your viewer/reader.
Once you have managed to stop them your need to structure the visual/verbal message in a way that is understandable in the split second you have the attention of your potential customer. You have to make them interested.
You need also to make sure that the main message of your ad is connected to you as an advertiser. You don’t want to spend money to promote the competition. To do this, which is no easy task, you have to structure the visuals of the ad in such a way that it connects your message to you as the advertiser. Often through a logo or a style.
One way of doing this is to work with focal points. A focal point is that visual point in your message, of text and picture, that the attention are drawn to and naturally want to settle on.
You can work with lines to direct your viewer to your focal point. That is one of more ways to get the viewer where you want to have him.
Look at the photograph above. The lines used to guide the reading of the picture are pretty obvious. They go from the low part of the image towards the top of the image. Interrupted by the saxophone player on the way. He become the focal point. As as advertiser, that is where you would want to place your main message. You selling point. At least you have a starting point from where to guide him/her further on.
Is this of use in photography? Even in street photography? Yes it is. It is definitely something that you need to be aware of as I am sure that you already are. Good things, however, cannot be repeated to often. That is the reason for this new commission.
This is what you should do if you want to play along with the music: Go on out there and take a picture that honours these criteria: a) a strong line flow ending up in b) ONE distinctive focal point with c) no conflicting visual information to destabilize that focal point. You are welcome to work with d) supportive information like the people right hand in the photograph above. But then you need to direct them too.
In other words you need to pay attention to four things: a) lines; b) focal point; c) conflicting information; and d) possible supportive information.
When you have boxed at least two such pictures, you load them to your own site on the internet and link to them in comments to this post. For all to see and comment on. For all to enjoy.
Now get out there :-).
Good luck with it.
© KNUT SKJÆRVEN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: TEXT AND PICTURE.
December 4, 2012.