When it comes to photography, taking photos of letters is different than taking photos of people or scenery. There is a completely unique set of motivations in capturing letters of the alphabet when photographing the world around you. Alphabet Photography has its own set of rules (and secrets!), and we thought we’d share a few here.
1. Remember the purpose Alphabet Photography. While most photography tries to capture a special moment, scene, emotion, or time in a person’s life; the purpose of Alphabet Photography is to join individual letter photos together to creatively display and celebrate a last name, first name, or meaningful word. Therefore every Name Art photo should look tasteful and decorative and have the ability to be used within a grouping of photos.
2. Find letters of the alphabet to photograph. Finding letters is truly a matter of perspective. Letters of the alphabet are out there waiting to be found in every tree, building, forest, sidewalk, garden, or park bench. Walking around and looking at things from every angle often reveals the hidden letters. Also, kids have a special eye for finding letters of the alphabet in just about anything, so taking a child along on a photo shoot is one secret to getting that ingenious letter photo shot.
3. Take an imaginative photo that actually looks like a letter. This is the ultimate balancing act of Alphabet Photography. Being creative and yet accentuating the letter of the alphabet can be a matter of allowing just enough of the background into the photo to allow for some context. The viewer of the letter pictures should not only be able to see the letters, but also discern what the subject matter of each photo is.
4. Deal with imperfections in the shot (or don’t). Call us Alphabet Photography Purists, but we just don’t like staged letter photos; so our tendency is to overlook imperfections in favor of a naturally occurring alphabet photo. But there is one error in letter photography that we just can’t handle: turning a building sideways or upside-down in photographs in order to form a letter. If the only way an “E” can be formed is to turn a building on its side, just say NO and go find an E somewhere else. We may be the only letter photo company with this viewpoint, but it’s this kind of idealism that sets us apart.
5. Capture photos for black and white. Transferring each letter photo to black and white helps to make the final framed photos look like one cohesive piece of Name Art. But this can create challenges when finding letters in nature. Something that looks like a vivid letter against a green background may just blend in once the color is removed from the photograph. Be sure that letter you are trying to capture is defined by more than just a striking color.
6. Consider Contrast and Lighting. In keeping with the above rule, remember that contrast and lighting are far more important in Alphabet Photography than color is. Look for a letter that appears light against a dark background or a dark object that forms a letter of the alphabet against a lighter background. One secret to taking beautiful alphabet photos is to get out at dusk or dawn for the special lighting effects these times of day can create.
So these are some of the very tips and secrets we use to capture our own Alphabet Photography. Visit our gallery to see our photos.