Using Comic Books for Photography
How Can You Use Comic Books as Inspiration for Photography?
Comic books are more than just colorful images, superheroes in tights, or a child’s reading material. With their great storytelling, plot, and powerful mix of illustration and fantasy, it’s no wonder the comic book industry continues to grow.
On the other hand, aside for kids, many think of comic books like a nerd’s must-haves. And, we couldn’t disagree more! Not that we have anything against nerds, we are nerds! But how selfish would we be if we keep comic books to ourselves? We believe that comic books are for everyone, regardless of age, career, or gender. They are like any other books – only way cooler!
What most people don’t realize is that these visual masterpieces actually offer many benefits. They can help people learn to love reading, allows you to think differently, they stimulate your brain, and they can even serve as great material for photography! You can learn a lot about photography just by reading these amazing books. How? Well, comic books have certain elements that you will surely find inspiring as a photographer!
Comic Book Elements to Inspire You
- Visual Impact
Comics have extremely beautiful visuals and they are made to catch a reader’s eye. Its illustrations are made with the mastery of perspective, color, composition, and tone – elements which are present in photos as well! Each panel is carefully made, making sure that there is a variety to keep the reader’s attention.
Now, as a photographer, you can learn a lot from the visuals of comic books. You could use the same composition in many, many of your shots. Look at what’s included in the images and what is left out. How are these illustrations able to lead your eye at its subject matter? Furthermore, notice that there are different distances to show different scenarios? You can use that too to keep things interesting. You can set the scene using wide shots and show emotion by taking close up face shots. When a superhero is given a full-length visual, what does it show? His power, strength and confidence – now, you can use this to your advantage.
Comic books are also very colorful. This is an essential element that if you check out front covers, you’ll see there’s the author, illustrator, and a colorist. Colors are added not only to make a book look nice but also to give its mood and create harmony. This element also gives emphasis to other elements in the illustration and it introduces contrast. Try to grab the nearest comics near you and study how different colors and tones are used to make the story better. And then, incorporate this for your pictures too.
You already know that lighting is one of the most crucial elements in photography. Going back to comic books, lighting is also extremely important as this allows an artist to create the mood. An illustrator considers the source of light, color, whether it should be soft or hard, and how it creates its shadows. He manipulates light to make different scenes with different feelings. And, you can use this for photography. Identify your source of light, its direction, quality, and see how it creates a shadow. And, use them to show the emotions in your photos.
- Expression and Body Language
These two elements are important for comic book illustrators as they help tell a story. Read a comic book and this time, pay attention to these elements and think about the feelings they try to convey. Now, check out your latest photos of people. Are they able to show emotions? Feelings?
As a photographer, it’s understandable that you can’t control your subject’s expressions and body language. However, if you make yourself aware of how they act, you can focus on capturing them at their most vulnerable moments where they are actually communicating their feelings. This way, you can capture their true expressions and body language, and use them to show the story that you want to tell.
Comic Book Illustrations as Works of Art
Comic books are rich in visual storytelling, making them incredible works of art. Imagine, on a single page, there are mural pictures and collage that probably took a lot of time to accomplish. So, the next time you read a comic book, try to analyze it. How can you come up with photos that in a way also tells a story and express feelings? Determine the angle and how it is used in each scene. Try to see why an artist decided to divide the panels or do a full spread. Also, try to identify the compositions that are interesting to you and find your inspiration on the panel you found most engaging.
There are a lot of elements comic books have that make them high art. All you need is to look a little bit closer to see how you can use them to turn your photos into great works of art too.