Photo sketch

How to draw a photo sketch and the purpose of using this skill in geography.

Photo sketches are also commonly referred to as line drawings and are used to identify key geographical features and summarise these for future reference. This video demonstrates the steps involved in drawing a photo sketch.

Watch 'Photo sketch video' (2:06).

How to draw a photo sketch

[Music playing]

[Screen shows a blue sky with clouds. Text on the screen reads, ‘Curriculum Secondary Learners – HSIE. Photo sketch. Presented by Melissa Ellis’.]

Melissa Ellis

In this video, we are learning about photo sketches.

[Screen shows a bird’s eye view of a ruler and a piece of paper on top of a notepad. The paper is landscape in orientation. Text on screen reads, ‘Photo sketches’.]

Constructing a photo sketch is like drawing a field sketch but using a photo for the source of information.

[Text on screen reads, ‘Line drawings’.]

We also call photo sketches line drawings in geography. And the purpose of either is to identify key geographical features and summarise these for future reference.

There are some simple steps to follow when drawing a photo sketch.

[Screen shows a photograph of a floating fishing village on Halong Bay. There are three houses floating on some barges on top of the water. Text on the screen reads, ‘Step 1’.]

Step 1, select a clear ground photograph of a landscape that you need to observe.

[Screen returns to showing the ruler, piece of paper and notepad. The presenter uses the ruler to draw a rectangle that is slightly smaller than the size of the paper. They then draw two more horizontal lines inside the rectangle, dividing it into equal thirds. The bottom third is labelled ‘Foreground’. The middle third is labelled ‘Middle ground’. The top third is labelled ‘Background’. Text on the screen reads, ‘Step 2’.]

Step 2, on your paper, draw the frame size and divide into background, middle ground, foreground.

[Presenter draws two vertical lines inside the rectangle, dividing the whole rectangle into equal ninths.]

You can even break it down further with left, centre, and right.

[Presenter uses the drawn grid to sketch the three houses from the photograph. Text on the screen reads, ‘Step 3’.]

Step 3, you will use a pencil to lightly sketch a rough outline of the key features in each frame. It is okay to make mistakes and erase those.

[The sketch is now darker and has more details. The presenter adds some labels, including the words, ‘Boats’, ‘Water’, ‘Water tank’, ‘Floats’ and ‘House’. The title of the drawing is, ‘Floating fishing village, Halong Bay.’ Text on the screen reads, ‘Step 4’.]

Step 4, fill in the detail from the photograph that you want to highlight and then label key features.

[Presenter points to the title of the drawing. Text on the screen reads, ‘Step 5’.]

Step 5, remember to give your photo sketch a title.

And there you have it. That is how we draw photo sketches in geography. Good luck with yours.

[Text on screen reads, ‘References. Floating fishing village, Halong Bay by Andrea Schaffer CC BY-SA 2.0,_Halong_Bay_(5678845937).jpg’.

Text on screen reads, ‘Acknowledgements. NSW Geography K-10 syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales 2015. See the NESA website for additional copyright information. NSW Department of Education Curriculum Secondary Learners. Southern Cross School of Distance Education.’

The screen shows an Indigenous artwork. The artwork features a landscape with native Australian animals. It is titled ‘Our Country’ by Garry Purchase. The text at the top of the screen reads, ‘Filming of these videos has taken place on Bundjalung land’. Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]

[End of transcript]

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