In case you haven’t already noticed, good designers often make good photographers. Good designers have an acute eye for composition, are able to see the aesthetic and communicative potential of subjects as unalike as a crumpled piece of paper and a setting sun, and—in many cases—also possess a strong and practical understanding of Photoshop.
Advice: Learn by doing. Make a habit of keeping a pocket digital camera on hand and taking pictures of the people, places, and things that catch your eye and prick your interest. And, very importantly, aim for a wide variety of photographic outcomes by exploring your camera’s buttons, features, and settings. Also, needless to say, put your savvy sense of composition to good use by seeking points of view that will record every subject and scene you shoot in an intriguing and attractive way.
Once you get in the habit of regularly snapping good looking photographs, your stash of ready-to-use images will grow quickly. Designers with a strong cache of photos invariably have several favorites within their collection—photos that are just waiting to serve as foundational images for works of design or art. A strong stockpile of photos also will provide attractive options for layouts in need of anything from a colorful backdrop image of flowers to a featured shot of an emotive downtown scene.
Another thing that you can do with your digital camera is collect abundant photos of visual texture (see Visual Texture, page 102). You can shoot excellent representations of visual texture using subjects like an aged cement floor, a wall with cracked and peeling paint, a frost-covered windshield, or a drawer full of colorful buttons. You can then use these photos of visual texture as effective backdrops for layouts, illustrations, and Web pages.