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Design exercise

Check out our pictures, then try this exercise yourself.

Changing camera angle and
Changing camera angle and "posing" the object in different ways gets us off to a good start.

What is the purpose of so many pictures of the same object on this page?

The pictures here demonstrate the creative power you have as a photographer in composing images so they are well-designed, even if the subject is a simple, common object.

The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate your creativity with photographic composition — more specifically your design ability in arranging and photographing a colorful, common object in a plain setting. (We happened to pick a screwdriver for the examples shown here.) The object must be arranged and photographed in several different ways so that each picture is a pleasant and interesting composition.

The variety of compositions on this page (16 different images) is just a beginning. We shot another 24 or so pictures that do not appear here. So can you. As a photographer, you command many more variables than have been touched on here. For example, you could roll or drop your object through the viewframe and capture its motion using a slow shutter speed. You could employ different-colored or vari-textured reflectors or diffusers to alter the light falling on your subject. Lens choice will add to the mix. Different filters can provide greater variety. It goes on and on.

It is conceivable that you could come up with dozens and dozens of different, well-composed and interesting pictures that demonstrate the enormous range of compositions available to the photographer who uses creativity as a tool.


Try this exercise yourself, using another common object — one that is simple and colorful. It could be a bright-red rubber ball, a green coffee mug, a yellow sponge or any of several other everyday household or office items. A colorful stapler, for example, or a hole-punch. Pick a well-lit, plain setting in which to place your object so it will stand out. (Don't, for example, place a blue object on a similar blue background; choose a background that will contrast with your object.)

See how many different ways you can arrange and photograph the object in its setting so that each picture you take is a pleasant and interesting composition.

You will probably find that your success in doing this will result in your taking design into account more often as you compose other pictures. It's an exercise that will pay off by improving your photography.

Further information...
Run out of ideas for pictures?
Related topics...

Spirals in photography

The rules of composition

Triangles to place your center of interest