Add an Element of Art Design Into Your Photos - Gradation

March 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Gradation is a slow transition between opposites - whether it be darkness slowly changing to light, small objects growing larger, or one colour turning into another. Any visual element that can be contrasted can also be gradated: shape, size, edges, direction, value, hue, intensity, texture or temperature. Gradation creates a sense of harmony between things that would otherwise be competing with each other. 

For example, in “On Guard”, there is a gradation in both colour and value. The colour of the clouds changes from a purplish blue to pure white further out over the ocean. Also, the value gradually turns from a brooding mid-tone to a bright white. Without the gradual transition, a sudden change between the two extremes would be too jarring.

On GuardOn GuardLifeguard station at Cavendish Beach, on guard for swimmers in need and ready for any changes in the weather.  

In “Soap Orbs”, the soap bubbles slowly change from small globes at the top of the image to large spheres at the bottom. This creates a sense of perspective as the bubbles float in from outer space towards the viewer.

Soap OrbsSoap OrbsWhile in the car wash, I watched as colourful soap slid down my windshield, forming abstract artwork. Inspired by soap bubbles, I created the orbs.

A transition in direction can be seen in “Winter Tent”, where the angles of the red tent poles vary around the curve of the tent. This provides a dynamic feel to the image, leading the viewer’s eyes into center of the lightweight tunnel.

Winter TentWinter TentThrough the red arches supporting a white fabric winter tent.

Often, some degree of gradation occur naturally, as shown above. But at other times, photographers can make use of this design principle to create impactful artwork.


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