Photography project: Leading the Eye

A new project for this week kicks off a series on leading the eye.

There are many ways of leading the eye of the viewer through your photographs. Our ‘Leading the Eye’ series of projects guides you through each of them, starting with how to lead the eye with colour. This doesn’t necessarily have to be one colour. Careful combinations of complimentary or opposing colour can be just as effective.

Your challenge is to use colour to capture the attention of the viewer and lead their eye through your photographs. For this project you will be required to produce three final images which use this technique. This project is not just about using ONE colourful object in isolation to draw the eye but about learning to balance a number of colourful elements in a composition that can lead the viewer’s eye not just in one direction or to one area. So therefore try not to make all of your images focus on single colourful objects but make at least one that balances two or more colourful objects in the composition. Be sure to explore the placement of the coloured object or objects in different parts of the scene, to see how placing them in different areas of the frame effects their dynamic in the composition.

Learning to effect and control the way that people move around your photographic compositions is key in learning how to make dynamic and engaging pictures. Colour can have tremendous power in this way. Concentrating on colours in this project will also help you see them more interestingly afterwards.

Helpful Vocabulary
counterpoint, isolation, complimentary, opposing, balancing, balance, harmony, discord, resonance, vibrance, primary, secondary, tertiary

Technical Considerations

Be wary of combining two primary colours in large expanses of the frame. Different films would render colour in different ways so with your DSLR, experiment with modifying the contrast, saturation and vibrance of colours in-camera.

Historical References
Joel Meyerowitz, Ernst Haas, Sam Abell, Martin Parr, William Eggleston.

A gallery of relevant images


You can download this project as a PDF by clicking here.

About Japanorama

Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

We also welcome submissions of photos and articles for this site, so please get in touch via our contact page. Thanks. © 2015 All Rights Reserved

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