MA 04 – Photography

The purpose of this assignment was to experiment with photography throughout the semester and explore different topics and techniques. We had to shoot, at least, one image for each of the themes listed below and create a well-thought composition. The photos may be cropped, but not manipulated.

– Night Photo
– Freeze water
– “Misty / veil”
– The golden section
– Motion blur
– Contrast
– Low key or high key
– Curves and lines
– Drawing with Light
– Depth

These are the 10 photos I picked for the assignment. I shot all of them with my Nikon D5200.

Semester Project 1

Week 14-17

Client: Little Explorers is a children’s clothing online store. They design and sell handmade clothes for children aged 0 to 12. It is a new small online business to be established in Spain in the near future. They seek to offer an affordable and sustainable alternative to children’s clothing. Their designs are handmade, functional and fun, with playful colours and prints that are made using ecologically and ethically produced organic cotton. Their main goal is to make practical and comfortable clothes that allow for easy movement and promote the child’s autonomy.

The aim of the Project Exam was to create a complete an authentic graphic design project for a client. In my case, it includes designing a logo, a business card, a bi-fold A6 brochure, clothing labels – to be sewn to the garments – and a cardboard shipping box – design to be printed on the packaging in which the clothes will be shipped -. Besides, it was required to make a Brand Style Guide to provide the client with all of the necessary details for consistent branding.

These are the products I designed.

MA03 – Recipe booklet

The goal of this assignment was to design a recipe book targeted towards students and young adults in the topic of eggs. The booklet should have a front and back cover, a preface, content repository, recipes and contact information. The text was provided and could not be changed, while the use of pictures was more flexible.

After submission I got feedback from my teachers and made further adjustments before submitting the design as part as my portfolio. Here is my final version.

Experimenting with “Drawing with light”

As part of my photography mandatory assignment I had to experiment with different styles and techniques. One of those was “drawing with light”. I waited until the long, bright days of Norwegian summer started to get a bit shorther to attempt this technique. It turned out to be a lot of fun and ended up with a lot of photos, of which these are my favourite. Now comes the difficult task of choosing only one for my assignment and portfolio.

Design of Layout in InDesign

Week 10-11

Using InDesign, design a 4-page brochure for a fictitious travel agent.

  • The size of the brochure should be A5 (when it is folded).
  • Design the brochure in full colour.
  • Use fake body copy, but create sensible headings.
  • Use titles, headings and images of your choice.
  • Be sure to pay attention to:
    • Choice of type
    • Choice of imagery
    • Use of layout and grid to communicate the content

Back and front of the brochure

Left and right inside pages

Saga Travels is a fictitious travel agent that offers trips to Iceland. This is the first brochure I design in InDesign, and there are things to improve, but in general, I’m satisfied with the result.


Pace and contrast

Week 10-11

Compare the design (in terms of pace and contrast) of an online magazine, blog or website to that of a printed magazine, book or journal. What differences can you see between the kinds of design strategies used in the two formats?

For this Learning activity, I’m going to compare the Spanish edition of Elle magazine, March 2020, both their printed and online versions.

Cover of the printed magazine

Home page of the online version

The cover of the printed version uses one big photo that can also be seen on the homepage header of the online magazine. The logo is present in both versions as well.
On the printed cover, the designer has used a combination of typefaces -serif and sans-serif- to catch the attention of the reader. The online magazine also uses a mix of serif and sans-serif typefaces and similar colors as the printed one. The difference is, of course, that the web version is interactive, and the information can be presented differently. There is a menu just below the header with some fixed categories that the reader can click to get to the desired information. If we scroll down the main page, we see the same categories with some of their content, showed in a grid design with pictures and the title of the article they link to.

Printed spreads

Online article

The design for the printed magazine has a lot of pictures to make the read easier and more dynamic, and so does the online one. The difference lies in the way the text and photos are distributed in the article. In the images above, I show the same story in both paper and online. In the printed one, the designer uses a 3-column grid where they add large pictures, some even taking a whole page. The web article, on the other hand, has a unique column, and the photos are inserted in between the lines, more like a blog post, since the reader will scroll down to read the piece rather than turn the pages on a more traditional magazine.

The way a reader navigates a magazine is very different for printed and web, and it is essential, as a designer, to consider that aspect when designing the layout and the way the information will be presented.


Basic Principles of Layout

Week 10-11

Take a magazine, newspaper or book that includes images and text. Lay tracing paper over the top of three spreads (both left-hand and right-hand pages). Using a pencil and ruler, carefully trace the grid underlying the page layouts. Remember to remove specific text elements or images, and to only draw the grid lines. Note column widths and margin sizes at the top, bottom, and to the left and right of the main body of text. Is your document based on a two-column, three-column, or another type of grid? Which elements stay the same on each page, and which change?

I decided to use the magazine Hus & Bolig. The three spreads I chose are based on a three-column grid, like most of the pages in the magazine. All the pages selected have a mid-range amount of text, which works well with this type of grid. All three spreads have large images/graphics; the first and the last one have an asymmetric distribution between picture and text, while the second one is symmetrically divided.

Column width: 5,7 cm
Column hight: 25,4 cm
Top margin: 2,2 cm
Bottom margin: 2 cm
Left margin: 1,5 cm
Right margin: 1,5 cm
Gutter: 0,4 cm


Week 10-11

On five A4 landscape pages, I had to draw four equal squares in each. Then, I draw one or two squares or rectangles in each of the empty squares to achieve the following visual effects:

  • Entering left
  • Movement to the right
  • Movement to the left
  • Movement downwards
  • Movement upwards
  • Balance
  • Tension
  • Symmetry/asymmetry

Entering left
The rectangles placed close to the left end of the square gives the impression that they are entering the page on the left side. The fact that the rectangle closest to the edge is only partially shown helps enforce that effect.

Movement to the right
Placing both pieces on the right side of the square gives the impression that they are moving to the right. It doesn’t affect if I use squares or rectangles.

Movement to the left
In the same way, placing the squares or rectangles on the left side of the page suggests movement to the left.

Movement downwards
In order to show the effect of movement downwards, I decided to place the squares and/or rectangles close to the bottom of the big square.

Movement upwards
Placing two rectangles on the top of the square gives the illusion that they are moving upwards. It works if the blocks are in line or in parallel paths.

Two squares with the same size placed in opposite corners of the page suggest balance. The same happens with two equally sized rectangles on each side of the square.

In the first drawing, the small rectangle is place in such a manner that seems as it was about to fall, creating tension. In the second example, the contrast of shape, color and orientation, as well as the fact that one is place on top of the other also creates tension.

Two equally large shapes mirrored to each other create symmetry.

The different sizes and shapes in the first example create asymmetry. In the second drawing, even though the squares are the same size, they are not mirrored to each other, which makes them asymmetric.

Form and Space

Week 10-11

For this Learning Activity, I had to cut several shapes from black paper in a variety of sizes and place them into a square piece of white paper, one at a time, and move them around to try and find the point where the distinction between figure and ground becomes unclear.

As shown in the pictures above, it doesn’t matter whether the dominant space is black or white. In all of them, it’s easy to differentiate between figure and ground.

The placement of the shape within the space doesn’t seem to have an important role when it comes to separate the figure from the ground.

In the first of these two series, I decided to place the black shapes in an ordered manner. This way, I think the eye can always see what the figure is and what the ground. In the second one, however, I randomly placed the paper cuts. The look of the composition is disorganized and strange. At some point, around picture number six, the piece is too cluttered to distinguish a figure.

In conclusion, I don’t think the distinction between figure and ground is highly affected by the position of the shape, or if the white or black is the dominant part of the space. The most important is the way we place the different elements on the composition and their position respect to each other. We must include enough negative spaces between the positives for the eye to be able to differentiate the shapes and interpret the whole piece.

Exposure basics

Week 9

Functions / buttons on the camera

Camera: Nikon D5200

A – Infrared Receiver
B – Shutter Release
C – Exposure Compensation/Aperture Adjustment
D – Info Button
E – Movie Record Button
F – AF-Assist Illuminator
G – Live View Switch
H – Mode Dial
I – Flash Mode Button
J – Function Button
K – Lens Release Button

L – Infrared Receiver
M – Menu
N – Information Edit
O – AutoExposure/AutoFocus Lock Button
P – Command Dial
Q – Playback Button
R – Multi-Selector
S – OK Button
T – Playback Zoom In
U – Delete Button
V – Thumbnail/Playback Zoom Out

How to set the correct ISO

To adjust the ISO on my camera, I press the Information edit button, with the Multi-Selector I navigate to the ISO sensitivity settings and press OK. Once I have chosen the desired value, I press OK again to select it.

It is also possible to change the ISO on the fly by pressing and holding the Function button while turning the Command dial. The ISO value change will show on the viewfinder display.

The higher the ISO, the greater the amount of noise in the image. For that reason, it is advisable to use the lowest ISO possible in each situation.

How to change the aperture

When the camera is set to “Aperture Priority Mode”, I can change the aperture by turning the Command dial. If the camera is on “Manual Mode”, I need to press and hold the Aperture adjustment button while turning said dial.

How to change the shutter speed

Both in “Shutter Priority Mode” and “Manual Mode”, I can change the shutter speed on my camera by rotating the Command dial.


Part of the Learning activity was to take several photos a day applying manual settings and experimenting with different lighting, subjects or landscapes. These are the six pictures I chose from all the ones I took during the week.

ISO 200
Aperture 4.5
Shutter speed 1/1250
ISO 200
Aperture 4.5
Shutter speed 1/2000
ISO 100
Aperture 4.8
Shutter speed 1/125
ISO 200
Aperture 5.6
Shutter speed 1/80
ISO 800
Aperture 5.3
Shutter speed 1/2.5
ISO 400
Aperture 5.6
Shutter speed 1/1600

I learned a lot with this assignment, and I also realised how much more I still need to practice and experiment with the different setting of my camera to become a better photographer and take advantage of all the possibilities a DSLR offers.