Photography in Web Design. Introduction | WebReference

Photography in Web Design. Introduction

[Dmitry's Design Lab]
Dmitry Kirsanov's monthly column
August 1997
Photography in Web Design
Photography was first to emerge among the "modern arts," those which wouldn't be possible without the technical achievements of the last two centuries.  Now it provides unrivalled creative opportunities when combined with the most recent of all arts, the art of web design.

With the rapid improvements in display devices, full-color photographs are no more "approximated" on computer screens as they once were, but can now be rendered with better quality than even on paper.  This allows photography to take its due position in web design, similar to the position it has occupied in this century in mainstream graphic design.

Computer-specific bells and whistles, such as interactivity and animation, will let you blend online photography with the elements of cinema and other visual arts.  However, these are only extras.  A carefully selected and integrated still photo per se can have a surprising impact in a design composition.  It can be an excellent eye-catcher and a drastic improvement even for a beginner's work.

Just as software graphic tools relieve you from the necessity to draw simple geometric forms by hand, photos will help if your design needs complex, life-like forms---on photos, these forms are supplied thick as blackberries.  Thus, photography fits well into the concept of design as using other people's art that we discussed last month.  This doesn't mean, of course, that you don't have to be creative yourself---but only that your creativity will get a powerful impact of inspiration.

So why does photography attract the eye in such a particular way?  How to best utilize its effect in web design?  This article attempts to answer these questions, as usual, by looking at some well designed sites and by pondering upon the general principles they illustrate. The three parts of the article discuss what photos to use, where to find them, and how to integrate them into the page.


Created: Aug. 23, 1997
Revised: Aug. 25, 1997