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Basic Design Principles Part 2

Tone and Texture

This specifically applies to drawings more than photography, but tone and texture are very important. Tone refers to shading of light and dark on an object and texture is the visual and tactile surface characteristics of an object.

Here�s a list of things that affect the tone and texture of an objects appearance.

1. The direction from which the light is coming. (Left, right, above, behind, or below.)

2. The intensity of the light. (Candlelight or sunlight.)

3. The type of light (Light from the setting sun or flash.)

4. Objects standing between the light source and your subject or object. (Light passing through a thin fabric.)

5. The color and texture of the object. (A fuzzy blanket looks a lot different than a piece of granite.)

Light and Shade

Light always travels in a straight line and depending on the location of the light the object or subject can look dramatically different. To understand this principle get a roll of film a light source, a lamp, an object or a family member. Take a series of photos of your subject start with the light source at twelve o�clock take each successive photo moving the light source to each position on the clock. When you look at your photos you will be amazed at how different your subject looks in each image. This exercise is great for anyone wanting to understand how light changes the look of a subject.


Shade or shadow and more commonly known as contrast is the degree of difference between the light and dark areas. An image with very black blacks and very light whites has high contrast. An image that is mostly shades of gray has low contrast. Contrast is determined by the intensity of the light source. Adjusting the contrast can help you create a very realistic image or a fantastic one.

If you have some specific questions please visit my Photography and Design Forum at: http://kellypaalphotography.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/index.php and post your question there.

Submitted by:

Kelly Paal

Copyright 2004 Kelly Paal

Kelly Paal is a Freelance Nature and Landscape Photographer, exhibiting nationally and internationally. She owns her own business Kelly Paal Photography (www.kellypaalphotography.com). She has an educational background in photography, business, and commercial art. She enjoys applying graphic design and photography principles to her web design.



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