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Alphabet Soup

You may know your ABC’s but can you show your ABC’s?











Taking quality photos relies heavily on “seeing” your composition. As photographers we should always be looking at angles, shapes, forms, shadows, reflections and much more while composing a creative photo.

This next project will test your ability to see and find or “create” unique compositions in unusual places.

Your goal is to find objects that when creatively photographed take on the form of letters. These “letters” or forms can be found absolutely anywhere as long as you are not actually photographing a letter itself. Focusing on contrast in VALUE and the ENTIRE composition is going to be key in allowing others to SEE the LETTERFORMS also. You should consider the angles you use to see new shapes and how cropping elements within the scene can more clearly establish the primary characteristics of letters.


Goal: To find and identify unusual settings that create interesting compositions where line and shape create the form of letter as a Focal Point.  You should challenge yourself to find letters represented in very unusual and creative ways.


Your final presentation should be planned out and executed well but is open to your own interpretation. The finished piece must be one cohesive piece of art. Unity will matter. Each letter should clearly be the focus of your composition (using contrasting backgrounds help a lot) and should fill the frame or be cropped as necessary.

Look at how other photographers have used: shadows, negative space, layered elements, creative cropping, and sometimes even a theme to create continuity among the series of photos.

Professional Examples Gallery

Student Examples




  1. Select a 4-7 letter word or phrase to do as a Film and Darkroom Printed Project.
    Select to use digital medium as you create all  26 letters of the Alphabet and create a single digital composition.
  2. Shoot as many images as are necessary to complete the project (likely 1 roll of film or 100-150 digital frames). It is extremely common to have to reshoot many letters after the first attempt at this project if effective planning is not used. For that reason do not procrastinate on beginning your shooting.
  3. Create a poofsheet of all shots. Multiple proofsheets may be necessary if multiple shoots are needed.
  4. Darkroom prints should be 5 x 7″ prints instead of our original 8″ x 10″ versions. Final digital compositions should 17 x 21 at 300ppi resolution.
  5. Final artwork should be, printed, mounted and hung for critique.


While your design process might be minimal for this particular project it should still be documented:

  1. Understand the Problem
  2. Research and Investigate
  3. Generate Possible Solutions
  4. Select AND DEVELOP Best Solution 
  5. Model and Prototype (Create)
  6. Test and Evaluate
  7. Produce


When beginning the planning stages these elements should be considered:

  • A theme
  • Techniques for creating letterforms
  • Avoid physically creating the letters
  • Avoid cliche´subject matter like stick/branches, cracks, utensils
  • What orientation should you shoot the photos in?
  • You are shooting for value NOT color
  • Balance of subject and environment is needed to “read” the letter