Better Visual Storytelling || Discover & Play With Contextual Contrast | Lucy Lambriex | Skillshare

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Better Visual Storytelling || Discover & Play With Contextual Contrast

teacher avatar Lucy Lambriex, Creative Confidence & Camera Courage

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Take a Moment


    • 3.

      What is Contextual Contrast?


    • 4.

      Small, Large & Forced Perspective


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Real & Fake


    • 7.

      Now & Then


    • 8.

      Sit Still, Let's Move


    • 9.



    • 10.

      (Don't) Act Your Age


    • 11.

      Out of Context


    • 12.

      Grande Finale


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About This Class

Visual Storytelling is here to stay. If you want people to pay attention to your brand or cause and to remember it, visual stories are it. In this new series of classes you will learn about and practice with several aspects that make for a compelling story.

Visual stories can consist of one image, a series of images, cinemagraphs or video. In this first class the focus is on Contextual Contrast, which is a lot fun to work with and it will hugely improve your visual stories. Contextual contrast appears when two different objects, qualities or meanings are juxtaposed. 

The class is full of short and simple assignments to help you play and practice with this aspect of visual storytelling.

Come join me on this short and playful adventure!

Lucy Lambriex

Meet Your Teacher

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Lucy Lambriex

Creative Confidence & Camera Courage

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All-Round Creatives Unite!

Join me in my new class right here >>!

Hello! As an all-round creative maker I know how you can get stuck in the middle of a project. Or at the start. If you ever find yourself stuck creatively, I can help you get back on track. My classes focus not only on the end result of your creations but also delve into the inner processes, personal awareness, and growth. Using photography, journaling, Procreate, paint, thread and other materials, you'll rediscover your creativity and gain valuable insights about yourself along the way.

I'm Lucy Lambriex (she/her), based in Amsterdam, and I design classes for creative professionals and professio... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi. If you want people to pay attention to your brand, or cause, and to remember it, visual stories are vital. In this creative and hands-on class, we'll look at contextual contrast, and how to use it. Examples are contrasting real and fake, moving and still, not acting one's age. I'm Lucy Lambriex from Amsterdam, a portrait photographer for the camera shy. I also make creative photos, videos, and cinemagraphs, for my direct clients, and Getty Images. Whenever I can, I play with the materials I can find around me, and so will you. The lessons come with a short and creative assignment that will be easy to execute. These will help you get to know contextual contrast from experience, and will make you use it in a fun and easy way. At the end of this class you'll be able to create a compelling visual story, that will be useful for your business, cause, or private life. Ready? Hop on. 2. Take a Moment: Stories can connect groups and bring across important messages that need to be remembered. They are a powerful glue for community, society, and businesses, and come in many shapes. They can take hours to tell by the fire or on grandmother's lap, they can be sung, or they can be told in a split second by using a photo or drawing. Visual storytelling is everywhere nowadays. Before you go on with the other lessons, sit down for a moment and write down what story you would like to tell with your business or something in your private life. When you got it, let's go on a journey and visit different types of contextual contrast, so you can learn to tell your own story in a more compelling and unique way. 3. What is Contextual Contrast?: Contextual contrast is a very important aspect of creative expression, and can be found in music, painting, poetry, and image-making alike, and can be evoked in many ways. It is the type of contrast that appears when two or more different objects, qualities, or meanings, are juxtaposed. Think of large and small, moving and still, real and fake, happy and sad. A dog picture is often cute and fun. A seal picture is fun and interesting. What if they could meet? Or they? The least commonly seen together, or the bigger the difference, the greater the contrast. But it's not to say that a bigger contrast makes for a better image. So I ask you to experiment with this to see what works best for your story. 4. Small, Large & Forced Perspective: One of the most commonly used types of contrast is opposing large and small, an insect on an arm, a small child in a large space, a tiny creature on a human finger, a baby on his father's chest. When small and large are both in focus, and when the small object looks larger than, or just as large as the big object, it can have a humorous effect. Think of the millions of tourists trying to straighten the Tower of Pisa, and carrying the setting sun. This play with contextual contrast is called forced perspective. The angle from which these photos are taken is very important. It can make, or the break the effect. It's a great exercise to walk around, and to capture examples of the contrast between large and small. Vary the angle, bend your knees, look up or down, and take it a bit further by creating a forced perspective shot. Make the small thing look larger than the large object. This exercise is not meant to make the perfect image. Just practice seeing it, and play with it. 5. Proximity: A cousin of contrasting large and small, is opposing or combining distant and nearby. In the forced perspective exercise, you already played with this. But there are more ways to do it. When you group or lineup objects or people together, they seem to have a connection. Set one of them apart, and a story emerges. Why is this person or object not included? Your prompt. Tell a visual story using objects and their spatial relationship. You can shoot this from several angles. Overhead gives an instant insight into the situation and an eye level shot is more immersive and lets you in on the story. 6. Real & Fake: A really fun and effective way to create contextual contrast is mixing the real-world with extras and opposites. Often this goes well when playing with large and small. You can oppose real and fake using editing software like I did here. I made a self portrait in my room and then added water in Photoshop. Here I made some special tea, but I added the steam later. But I actually prefer images where the blending of the real and fake is created when taking the picture in camera so the encounter is real. I love these chocolate and peanut workers that I found, and the tea people out on a swim. Mixed in 2D and 3D makes for another interesting contrast. When mixing real and fake, you can dress up yourself in wallpaper for instance. I shot this image 10 years ago. The dress was smaller than my hand, and I hung it by thin thread. I love seeing the thread as I think it adds an edge to the image and I like the realness of it. But if you like it smoother, you can easily make them invisible in Photoshop with the Healing Brush or the clone stamp, or with the free online software tool called Pixlr. It is almost like Photoshop, but you need to be online to use the most advanced version. For your smartphone or tablet, I recommend Snapseed. It is also free and it lets you heal your image so you could remove thread or small irregularities easily. Your task for this section is to make an in-camera collage where you combine fake and real. You can use paper cut outs, miniature people, toys, something you've drawn or painted, combined with a person or real life object. Anything you choose is right, just have fun. 7. Now & Then: When we bring something from the past into the present, something happens, and the story starts being told. This type of contrast creates something of an itch, which is interesting and creates wonder. This is one of my favourites with my model, Hetty, making a duck face at a classical phone, and this is a re-enacted photo of my mother and me. You can see, not only the eras are mixed, also, a huge size contrast has appeared. Your assignment, take something from the past and bring it into the present. Or even play with the future. 8. Sit Still, Let's Move: Motion and stillness are also two beautiful qualities to use in an image together. When they are put next to each other, you can create focus on one or the other, like in this example, or simply show the contrast between the two, like so. When using a long exposure time, you can actually feel the motion, and experience the rush around the man standing still. With a very short exposure time, we can freeze the motion, and see something we can never really see in real life. Your assignment for this lesson is threefold. One, put your phone, or camera, on a tripod or stack of books, and create an image in which some parts are motion blurred, and some are still. Choose a still subject, that could actually be moving, like an animal, or a person, or a vehicle in traffic. Two, shoot from the hand, and follow a moving subject, so it will look still, but its background will be motion blurred. Three, experiment with long and short exposure times, and see how this changes the focus of your story. Which approach do you like best? 9. Interspecies: When humans and animals meet, there's often a large cuteness alert, but also immediately a story starts being told. Especially when unexpected animal meetings are captured, questions arise. Like, how did these two meet? What will happen next? The smaller their genetic resemblance, the more interesting it can get. Your prompt, create an opportunity where two interspecies animals meet and capture their story. 10. (Don't) Act Your Age: Having older people do children's things and vice versa, is also a form of contextual contrast that let's you tell a compelling story. Images like these mess with our brains. But why? Somehow these make stronger images than when executed with the right age. For me, these are also hopeful images about growing older. Your prompt, make a selfie doing something not considered fitting for your age by using a prop. 11. Out of Context: Taking things out of context is a great way to attract attention and tell a story. You can create slightly shocking images by doing what is unexpected or even unwanted. Body hair, being banned in the Western culture, can create quite a shock as we have seen on social media. But already 10 years ago when I posted this one on Flickr, it created a stir. I like to play with this by exaggerating it and finding new uses for objects. Your prompt, create an image that shows a new usage of an object. It may even be slightly shocking. 12. Grande Finale: I hope you've enjoyed playing with the exercises and I look forward to seeing your project grow. One final assignment is to choose two types of contextual contrast and combine them to make a compelling visual story in one image, short video, or a series of images. Pick a topic that is of interest for your business, or cause, or private life so you can actually use it. If you liked this class, please leave a short review and follow me to receive notice when I've published new classes in this series on better visual storytelling. Thanks so much for watching and I hope to see you in the project section, and in the community if you have any questions or remarks. Bye.