David Hockney Inspired Photograph

Introduction: David Hockney Inspired Photograph

David Hockney was an artist known for multiple different mediums such as pop art, painting, photography and sculpture. What we will be looking at here is a type of photograph created that Hockney commonly did where the artist takes many photographs of the same object or view multiple times from various different angles like a puzzle. Then by either physically printing them out or arranging them digitally, will mesh them together in a jigsaw fashion to create one finished photograph.

The David Hockney inspired photograph can be created on any setting on a camera, which makes it perfect for any skill level in photography, although there are some recommended settings. The setting is dependent on what you are shooting. (Example: scenery = outdoor settings)

It is a very tedious way of creating a picture but it can come with a very cool looking mix matched mosaic finished effect!

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Step 1: Materials


1.) Camera - Any working camera will do, from professional DSLR camera to a point-shoot camera.

2.) Subject - Whatever the focus of your picture is supposed to be. This can be anything you want including a scenery, object or thing.

3.) Light Source - Anything that creates enough light to effectively light the focus of your picture the way you want to see it. There is no set way to have the photo's lite, but the better lite they are the better your pictures will turn out. (You don't want to be shooting in the dark) This could be any form of artificial light like a lamp or flashlight, or any form of natural light.

4.) Organizational Method of Photographs - After the photographs are taken you will need a way to organize them to create the finished picture.

a.) Physically Printing - (David Hockney's method) *Can be used if you have no access to a digital manipulation software* Take images to a printer and have them printed. *Refer to steps*This method will cost you money

b.) Digital Manipulation Software - Anything that will allow you to move, turn and resize images. Adobe Photoshop is recommended but not necessary. *Refer to steps* (Method is faster, more efficient and produces a cleaner image)


1.) Background - *Recommended if you are shooting an object or thing* A background or very neutral space will put extreme focus and emphasis on your object. It can be created with a plain piece of paper or bristle board curved between a wall and the floor to create a never ending background. (Example: Lean a piece of bristle board against the wall and floor)

2.) Tripod - (Or other flat surface) A tripod may be helpful, but is not necessary. A tripod may actually get in the way because this method of photography involves lots of moving around. If you are a patient person, a tripod will improve the quality of your images and then overall image. But if you are not, to save time and your sanity, avoid using a tripod.

3.) Digital Manipulation Software - *Recommended but not necessary* Arranging your images digitally saves time, money and energy. The method is faster, more efficient and produces a cleaner image.

Step 2: Camera Settings

This next step is referring to the settings on your camera that you use to take effective photos. The quality of these individual photos will greatly impact the quality of your finished picture.

It is suggested that you take the photos in Manual mode on your camera which will allow for maximum control over all your shots and eventually finished picture, although it is not necessary to use manual. (If you take into account that David Hockney used disposable cameras to complete his pictures, there is no set way to create a "David Hockney style photograph.")

If you are not comfortable with Manual, adjusting the settings on your camera, don't know where the settings are, or are too lazy another mode such as Auto that will take care of the settings will work instead.

Manual Mode Recommended Settings

White Balance - Match the right icon to what ever light source you are using.

IOS - High IOS (1600-6400)

Shutter Speed - Your going to want a quick shutter speed to speed up the time it takes to take the pictures and reduce blur in the pictures as you move the camera around. (Expect to get sloppy and take this as a preventive measure.) Suggested shutter speed would be 1/4000-1/250

Aperture - Aperture depends on what your shooting. If your shooting a landscape, a deep depth of field is recommended (f/11-f/22). If your shooting an object or something close to you, a shallow depth of field is required (f/2.8-f/5.6).

Flash - Optional

Step 3: Set Up

Set up generally depends on what you are shooting and if you have a specific picture in mind. If your shooting a landscape, there isn't much you have to do other then be there with the proper equipment. If you are shooting an object, you may consider putting up a background.

(*Note* The background I used was as simple as possible. It was a white piece of bristle board curved between a 90 degree angle solely for the purpose of eliminating distractions. You can achieve a background or a similar effect with other objects such as blankets or towels.)

In most cases you probably will be standing and holding the camera yourself, which makes it easy to shuffle a little in either direction until you find what your looking for in your finished image.

(*Note* If you are a person that cannot stay steady, and cannot take a good picture, then you could try using a tripod or other flat surface. If you can take good pictures without one, then that would be better contributing to your success and the tripod is unnecessary.)

For this project, you want to make sure that once you find the where you want to be located to take the pictures and after you find a good position you must remain stationary and refrain from movement. This is crucial for the photographer to take good images that will mesh well together in the finished photo.

This goes for and is highly suggested for both projects. Either photographing an object or photographing a landscape.

(*Note* It is suggested that you take a general photo with your camera of the object/scenery that you will take the pictures of before hand. This will help you in the editing process and be useful if a factor changes or you get lost and need to retrace your steps.)

Step 4: Taking the Pictures

When taking the photos, remember that the idea and goal is to take enough pictures to re create the entire point of focus or subject. This means that you want to be able to over lap your pictures in the finished piece and that it is okay to take too many photos, and to have more photos then you need. (For my project (Above) I took about 40-50 and used about 30-40 pictures.)

Start by photographing the object in various ways, so that you see the in the above demo pictures. Some people choose to take their photos very mechanically starting from side to side and competing row by row. Others prefer to just wave their cameras around taking pictures at random. Which ever way of taking the pictures you prefer just make sure to get full coverage of the subject.

After you feel you have finished taking the photos just quickly look through your camera to insure you covered everything before you move or pack up, just in case your missing something.

Step 5: Editing

The next part is when you put your pictures together. You can choose to do this either physically or digitally.

Physically Arranging Pictures

If you are assembling the pictures physically the more traditional method that Hockney followed, the first thing you'll need to do is have the pictures printed. Send them out, go to a place like Kinkos or that place in Wal-mart (If that still exists) and come out with all your photos printed. From there, lay them out on a flat surface and arrange them to make one picture of your subject. Use your picture of the un altered subject for reference if necessary. Arrange and rearrange until you are satisfied. After the pictures are the way you like them, get high enough above them to take an over all image. Once you have the finalized image captured, the rest is up to you on what you do with it. Congratulations, your David Hockney photograph mission has been completed.

*This method often comes out sloppier but with a very distinct unique look*

Digitally Editing Pictures

If you are assembling your photos on a digital editing software like Photoshop load all the picture you took from your camera to your computer. Once that has successfully been done, then it is time to create a new Photoshop file. There is no set size of your canvas necessary, but a larger canvas is recommended for working. (You can always expand or crop your canvas later) You do want a larger canvas though, so that you have room for your images. You must take into account that your canvas should be at least 7x larger then your average picture size to prevent picture quality reduction. A higher resolution or DPI is also recommended to work on.

Once file setup has been established drag in all of your photos.

Once all the photos are in the program successfully, turn off all the layer visibility on your images to reduce clutter and confusion and resize if necessary. Next find the full, general picture of your subject you took for reference earlier and turn the visibility on. Stretch that picture to fit the canvas appropriately and move it's layer to the bottom of the layer stack. Now this photo will be used as a guide to help you better form your image.

-To resize images, select the layer(s) and press Ctrl+T for Free Transform

-When resizing images grab one corner and hold shift when dragging to keep the image proportioned without stretching.

One by one turn on each layer individually and place. Remember its okay to ignore duplicates or other images that you do not need. Arrange and rearrange the images until you are satisfied with the general appearance of your finished image. Save accordingly and the rest is up to you and what you do with your finished image. Congratulations, your David Hockney photograph mission has been completed.

*This method produces a much cleaner sleeker looking image without many imperfections*

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    6 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Very interesting, thank you!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the very thorough Instructable. Your picture turned out great! I hope we see more from you on Instructables in the future!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much, I really appreciate it. Hopefully there will be more in the future :)