Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Designing Your Costo Album :: Rule of Opposites

"I'm going to make a Costco book with our engagement pictures and use it as a guestbook at the wedding. Any suggestions???" 

Kaitlyn and I were sitting on her couch flipping through the digital pages of her not-yet-printed Costco guestbook. "How does it look?" she asked me. Her images were super cute but I noticed one thing we could do to make the whole presentation much stronger.... 

You know when you're scrolling through images (usually someone else's) and somewhere along the line you feel like your eyeballs glaze over, you feel bored and the images all start to kinda look the same? That's what we're trying to avoid.

When side-by-side images are too similar they blend together and lose their impact but when images are constantly contrasting one another, each image stands out boldly and keeps your attention! This is called the Rule of Opposites.

Rule of Opposites :: When two images are presented together, make sure that something about them is different/opposite. If one picture is a close-up, make the other picture is a full-body shot. If one picture is colour, make the other black & white. etc... Sometimes you need to make multiple elements different.

EXAMPLE ONE: Amy's wedding dress. 

The first pair of photos: two different angles of the dress but they were taken at the same distance from camera, both are B&W, same composition with the dress in the middle and railings leading off the page. 
How to improve? Keep your favourite image, replace the other. This new image is "opposite" because it's in colour, it a close up and the focus is on the flowers. It's still fits though because it includes the dress.
EXAMPLE TWO: Rhiannon.  
The first pair of photos: although the poses are different, they aren't different enough. The composition is also more or less the same with her filling up the page and her head is in the top right 3rd. Which photo catches your eye? Or which one stands out more? Probably neither because your eye blends between them both.
How to improve? I kept the left image and replaced the right image with a close-up face shot. I didn't want to make one of them B&W because I love the soft colours in both of them. Now that we're focused on her face in the right picture we can focus more easily on the wider scene that we see in the left picture. Both of them stand their own ground.

EXAMPLE 3: Sebastian's Socks.
The first pair of photos: basically the same shot but from different angles.
How to improve? Zoom up to change the composition! I simply snapped a closer look at his socks.  Now it's easier to look at these images together and because I drew attention to his socks you'll be more aware of them and other details in the wider picture. 
Here's a third suggestion... Sometimes, you don't want to replace a photo — you want to include them both. Just add the "opposite" photo in the middle to break up the "same-ness" of the first two images.

EXAMPLE 4: Beautiful Melissa.
The first pair of images is half way there. We're rockin' the colour and B&W opposites but Melissa's pose is pretty much the same. Which one shall we focus on?! Ahhh! 
How to improve? I prefer the B&W image on the right so I kept it and replaced the left image with a completely different picture. The bold colours contrast. Melissa is look away whereas her bridesmaids, Kristine & Katie, are looking at the camera. This also helps us process the pair of images because we are drawn in by the bridesmaid's eye contact and then we can drift over the check out Melissa.
I use the "Rule of Opposites" all the time when designing albums and blog posts. I learned it from the great Matthew Jordan Smith via creativeLIVE. The concept is simple and once you understand it you are destined for image-presentation-greatness for the rest of your life!!