Hang a photo, light up a room

May 3, 2022Neesha Hosein


Frames on wall


Photos evoke emotion, tell a story, set a mood, capture memories, and spark the imagination all while simply hanging on a wall.

San Jacinto College offers multiple ways to learn about photography through credit or continuing and professional development non-credit courses.

Leslie Plaza Johnson, adjunct photography professor, feels a "photograph is a visual document whose power lies in its ability to evoke the nuances of the human condition." When you see an image that resonates personally, you can feel moved to act.

Johnson believes properly selected images can decorate and complement the mood of a space.

All about ambiance

Several factors come in to play when creating artistic photos, including cameras, lenses, lighting, subject, timing, and framing.

"In determining how to position a piece on a wall space, you should place the piece at eye level for the viewer," said Shantell Howard, South Campus CPD site coordinator and photography expert. "If the piece has a dramatic expression, you may want to place it on a wall by itself to help determine the final positioning preference."

Howard believes a photo should express its essential features and speak to the people using the space. For viewers to express an emotion about the piece, they must communicate with it through "visual language." Shapes and colors of the framed image affect how it's viewed and understood.

Endless possibilities

Whether one framed photo or a collection, photography wall art can include landscape, portrait, fashion, street, nature, travel, wedding, food, sports, and more. The unique types of photography determine the inspirational effects.

"Anyone who is committed to this process can become adept at this kind of visual storytelling, and those who choose to specialize in a particular type of photography will need additional training," Johnson said.

Beginner photographers should start with a basic camera that has manual capability if they plan to take their own photos.

Artsy assistance

"Using others' images is acceptable as long as the original artists are being fairly compensated," Johnson said. "Some of the most popular stock image banks include Shutterstock, Adobe, and Getty Images."

When it comes to photographs, the angles matter. She believes "evocative images happen through thoughtful composition."

When peering through a camera lens, how do you know what to focus on?

"Watch your backgrounds," Johnson said. "One's shooting agenda relies on careful consideration of the intended message, and this includes ensuring the background relates properly to the subject."

Johnson teaches fundamentals of photography, a required course in San Jac's art and design curriculum. To register, students must complete an application to the College and follow steps for enrollment.

CPD offers training for those who want to learn photography for fun or personal enrichment. The fine art photography beginner's course covers photographic principles and taking, developing, and printing photos. Photography suite and Adobe Photoshop intro classes are among those offered.

According to Howard, CPD photography courses provide an opportunity to learn a new skillset that can also be financially beneficial.

"The lessons taught in our photography courses prepare students to become polished at the craft that will enhance their ability to produce impressive images," Howard said. "In addition, the course instructs the students on how to put theory into practice, which will sequentially develop them into a better photographer."

To learn more about CPD training and view the course schedule, visit sanjac.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/continuing-ed-student/. To learn about admissions, visit sanjac.edu/admissions.

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