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3 Ways Taking Photos Can Help You with Graphic Recording

Did you know that taking photos can help you with drawing out ideas by hand too?

The photograph has fast become what’s arguably the most ubiquitous medium of communication today.

Even according to a 2014 report (yes, that’s three years ago),  an estimated 1.8 billion digital images are uploaded every day (that’s 657 billion images a year) to the internet. And, we are probably just scratching the surface of what nestling in your hard drives and phone storage that has not seen the light of day.

Given how easy it is to take a photograph instantaneously, it seems mind-boggling that there would be lessons for Graphic Recorders (people who “hand” draw out ideas shared at meetings – in real time) from photography.

After all, isn’t drawing the oldest tech around? So where’s the connection?

There’s actually much that’s analogous between the two practices. Let us look at this from three perspectives – head, heart, hand.


Head – What are we seeing in our minds’ eyes?

Did you know that colour perception varies from person to person? So quite literally and figuratively, we do see differently.

How, then, might we perceive what’s going on accurately, process it in our mind’s eyes, then help others see the same vision?

There’s no escaping the activation of our vision receptacles if we want to do that. If visuals already don’t get seen the same way, we don’t really have much of a case for choosing to go with text and blah-blah-blah for instant recognition.

Heart – What are we sensing and feeling in the images we create? 

I’ve always been a firm believer of going into a session I’m graphic recording with a blank canvas. Because as much as I may (or may not) be familiar with the topic of presentation or discussion that I’m drawing out, there’s no way I would get an accurate pulse of the participation dynamics and mood if I work with a predefined style or from a template.

(These do have their place in working visually, just not if I am using my senses to capture sensory and emotional information.)

That’s very much like the photographer who may have settings programmed, sometimes a tripod setup, maybe certain composition tropes in mind. But always, being in the time and space where the image is created.

And that’s what makes every image personal and magical in telling the unspoken story.

Hand – What do we do with the images we create, to give them life? 

As a Graphic Recorder, we always document our visual output (created on physical canvases) by making (or taking, if you prefer) photographs.

Even for digital graphic recordings, there’s no escaping exporting digital images for sharing.

Every graphic recording canvas is thus a frame that seeks to be filled. Thus how it is framed, as well as the quality of image (re)production, determine how the visual is received beyond the event where it was created.

Wondering how Photography can help you create better flipcharts and visuals? Watch out for our upcoming post!