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Elements that influence visual appeal in photographs

by Hall, Jeffrey L.

Abstract (Summary)
Dr. Donna K. Trautman, Advisor In photography, image appeal may be characterized by the interest that a picture generates when viewed by an observer, other than the photographer. The American Heritage Dictionary (2005) defines the adjective “appealing” as being attractive or beautiful. For this study, an image with appeal is considered the kind of image all photographers strive for but is difficult to achieve. The purpose of the study is to identify the primary visual elements that evoke emotion and influence the overall appeal of a photograph. Participants in the study viewed four different photographs in each of three categories: people, still life, and landscape. Each participant was first asked whether each of the twelve images was “visually appealing.” Next, each participant rated the significance of ten visual elements to the overall appeal of each photograph. Participants used a Likert scale to rate the significance of the elements. The data gathered was analyzed using a series of MANOVA tests at a significance level of .05. Mean scores were calculated to illustrate the importance of each of the 10 visual elements in each of the three categories: people, still life, and landscape. The elements were analyzed utilizing the MANOVA (Tukey at the .05 level of significance) test, and comparing their value versus the categories of people, still life, and landscape. Analyses of the data indicated that there are some commonalities in visual elements that influence the appeal of photographs. However, most visual elements are dependent on the photographic category. The importance rankings of the visual elements produces only two pair iii of visual elements considered equal in importance: subject in the still life and landscape categories, and depth of field in the people and landscape category. The results of this study indicated that photography educators must recognize that students need to understand these ten visual elements and how they impact a photograph. However, it is more important to understand how they affect certain categories of photographs. When students are aware of this difference they can develop the skills necessary to consistently create images of strong visual appeal. iv
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Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:photography

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