Balance (Mac version). Contributed by Mimi Booth.
Mimi put together a very informative presentation on Balance. You can download the Mac version (Keynote) here.
Art Elements- Balance - Mac.key
Compressed Archive in ZIP Format 54.8 MB
Balance (PC version). Contributed by Mimi Booth.
Mimi put together a very informative presentation on Balance. You can download the PC version (PowerPoint) here.
Art Elements- Balance - Power Point PC.p
exe File 53.6 MB

UKIAH PHOTO CLUB MONTHLY THEME PROPOSALS - 2019.  Contributed by Mimi Booth.


This year’s goal, to turn a simple subject into a striking image, utilizing many elements and principles of art, depends on a few technical settings of the camera itself, such as exposure, aperture, shutter speed and ISO, as well as the option of software programs. It is suggested that we focus on one or two elements / principles of art each month, with a short discussion ahead of time for understanding. As always, these are only suggestions and participants have the latitude to go their own direction. 


There are no rules here, only guidelines to consider when composing a photo. The way each of us perceives a composition is valid. Most importantly, these themes can encourage methods of becoming more creative and to play with our photos. The following concepts could guide us with our compositions and still allow us to choose our own subjects for focusing on these elements and principles throughout the year. 


Elements of Art are considered the visual tools that the artist uses to create a composition. Elements represent concepts that help a photo have great visual impact:

  • Line 
  • Shape 
  • Color 
  • Value
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Space

Principles of Design are how the artist uses the Elements of Art to create an effect and to help convey the artist’s intent. They determine whether a composition feels successful. Principles are often intertwined and depend on each other: 

  • Balance 
  • Emphasis, 
  • Movement  
  • Contrast 
  • Pattern 
  • Rhythm 
  • Unity
  • Variety 

In addition to the art elements and principles, there are specific principles of design for photography that are related and embedded into the above art elements and principles of design:

  • Cropping
  • Framing within a composition
  • Background
  • Viewpoint

The following suggested themes for January through April are ways to practice utilizing specific art elements in photo compositions, with your own choices of subject matter. Many of these themes are combined elements, as they are closely related, but it is not expected that your composition display both of them. May is a separate theme, with the concept of mood, that could be a way to combine many of the art elements. Art elements and principles of design are underlined to emphasize awareness.


January - TEXTURE

  • Texture refers to the look of how things might feel.

February - LINE / SHAPE

  • Line seems to be a critical element that serves the purpose of leading the eye around the composition. 
  • Shapes are the enclosed lines and can be geometric or organic. The arrangement of shapes can bring more interest to a photo. 


  • Color can be defined as hue, value, and intensity and is closely tied to lighting. 
  • Hue is the name of the color. 
  • Value is the degree of darkness or lightness in specific parts of a photo. 
  • Intensity is the strength of the color or its saturation

April - SPACE / FORM 

  • Space is the illusion of depth on a flat surface through the use of positive and negative areas. Space suggests the distance between the objects, perspective, and proportions of objects and viewpoint (aerial shots, from below, etc.). 
  • Form is the three dimensional representation of a shape. As photos are two dimensional surfaces, form is achieved through illusions of depth.

May - MOOD (subject theme, not an art element)

  • Mood can be conveyed through lighting, color, value, line, facial expressions, body posture, events, weather, and conditions of subjects such as decaying objects. 

Themes for June through September provide participants with practice creating compositions that utilize the Principles of Art/Photo Designs. Participants are already utilizing many of these concepts intuitively and this just brings a greater awareness and confidence. 



  • Balance can be symmetrical, unsymmetrical, or the use of radial lines. Most photographers are familiar with the rule of thirds that can be achieved through careful scanning through the lens, searching for lines of emphasis or shapes, and by cropping later.


  • Emphasis is the dominant feature in the photo. It is sometimes created through contrast, size, color, leading lines , blurred focus of negative space, or placement in the composition.


  • Movement in a still photo is implied movement. It is achieved through body postures, lines, repetition of pattern, or blurring. Patterns can be repetitive shapes, lines, colors, textures, etc.
  • Rhythm is a feeling of flow from repetitive patterns, bringing harmony, similar to music. 


  • Unity provides a sense of cohesiveness. It creates a sense of wholeness by using similar elements and placing them in ways that bring harmony to a composition. 
  • Contrast is the arrangement of opposite elements, such as contrasts in color and value, textures, or sizes to create visual interest. 
  • Variety is the complement to unity, using contrasting elements for interest.

Successful compositions might be visually balanced, with elements such as lines, shapes, and patterns that move the viewer’s eyes around the composition.  It would ideally show some unity, while also having some variety and contrast.  The following suggest themes are broad subjects selected for the purpose of bringing awareness th the many concepts of art elements/principles.


October - WATER (subject theme)

  • Water is a subject suggestion that could be broad enough to encompass nearly everyone’s preferences.  Fall is one of the best times to go to the coast to see waves, boats, sea life, birds, and sand ripples caused from tides and water movement. It can also be photos taken earlier in the year that show show rain, wet foliage, or water drops on a flower or spider web. Even a dry lake bed or geological layers of land implies that water was there at one time. 

November - REFLECTION (subject theme)

  • Reflection is meant to be interpreted broadly as well, cognizant of the elements and principles of art. It can be a person in a pensive pose, a memory, or a way to reflect on your feelings of gratitude. It can be actual reflections in water, mirrors, glass, shiny cars, eyes, rain drops, or a composition with dual images created through software.

December - FAVORITES 

  • Bring your all time favorite, as well as what you feel is your best photo of this year. 


Perhaps the best part of the monthly meetings is viewing member photos. It inspires  and provides thoughtful suggestions for improvements, elevating everyone’s skills. It is hoped that the review and practice of using art elements and principles will bring additional vocabulary and awareness to the critiques without stress or the concern that a photo doesn’t meet the criteria.  In order to have sufficient time to critique photos from every member, with positive suggestions and useful comments, it is suggested that each participant limit their photos to three (five at the most). Perhaps only one of them will be chosen by the photographer for a critique. Of course we are always open to questions on the other ones, such as “Where was that?” or “How did you do that?”. 


In addition, it is often helpful, as well as an interesting option when a participant displays a before and after photo to see what techniques were used to bring the photo up to a more successful level. A fun alternative is to display a “Do-Over”. Take one of your photos, one that you really like or one that is disappointing in some way and re-do it. Use a different camera or lens, take it from a different perspective, take it at a different time of the day/year, modify the light, switch from color to black & white, or whatever.  For the photo share, bring in both the original and the new version for comparison and contrast.









Contemplative Photography by Martin J. Verhoeven

Reception and talk

Sunday, October 20, 3:00 PM

Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Main Building, second floor


Willits Photography Club Show opening night

Saturday, November 2, 7:00 PM

Willits Center for the Arts


Ukiah Photography Club November meeting

Sunday, November 3, 11:00 AM

Mountain Mike's Pizza

Theme:  reflection


Ukiah Photography Club December meeting

Sunday, December 1, 11:00 AM

Mountain Mikes's Pizza

Theme:  favorites