What is a Visual Cue?

I first learned about the term Visual Cues as it applied to photography, when I started teach studio lighting to college students in 2001.  The concept of defining elements of a picture, which aided in not only attracting the viewer but also in creating a higher sense of artistic appreciation for the image, is not necessarily something that is defined by the term “Visual Cue,” since it is something I use as a reference to those very things.  However, it is those elements of an image which draws the viewer in that make up the collection of things that I call “Visual Cues.”

Visual cues class at TLC Photography

Where is there less light?

Let’s take a look at one, just so you have an idea of what I’m referring to.  “Illumination” is the first of the visual cues that I’ve identified as a primary attraction element.  At first, you may say “well, of course

illumination is necessary,” and you’re right.  But without illumination (lighting, light, lightness, etc.), you would flounder in identifying the rest of these visual elements (cues).  The mind works in its own way to help tell you what is and is not basically attractive – not just in terms of “hey, that’s pretty,” but in terms of having artistic flair or increased drama.  Illumination isn’t just being able to see the subject in the picture, but to clearly identify not just the subject, but all the subject’s supporting elements.  Without illumination, you cannot see those important elements.  Without distinctive illumination for certain items within an image, the drama may be lost, the emphasis taken for granted, or the entire purpose of the image diluted by lazy photography… which includes improper illumination.

There are many more elements that not only help you identify the important visual cues, but which are easy to add to your images to make them more visually attractive.

Learn more about photography at TLC

Look at where the light comes from

If you ever hope to become a professional photographer, or you want to increase how much artistic imagery you add to your own pictures through visual cues, you need to learn these things.  Now.

I teach some of them this Tuesday, October 30, at 6pm.  The class runs for three hours and has examples, explanations and an exchange of ideas (hey, the three E’s!!)… you can sign up for the class by going to www.tlcphotography.com/seminars.  Class size is limited to 15, and it’s already 1/3rd full.



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