Typologies became a mainstay of the photographic repertoire with the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher, August Sander, and many others. A photographer uses typologies not only to document but also to make a statement.

Beauty can be found in similarity and in differences. A good typology will make the viewer aware of both. As an introduction to this assignment let's have a look at both historical and contemporary typologies.

A Flickriver typology collection can be found here.

A Pinterest typology collection can be found here.

A Tumblr typology collection can be found here.

Typologies by Bernd and Hilla Becher


Typologies by Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek



To document and present a unique typology. You will select 9 images that will be presented in a 3X3 grid. You will be led through a process for selecting the typology to document.


1) Content

A collection on nine photos, submitted as one image. Each image should have similar qualities, such as:

  • Lighting
  • Zoom / Cropping
  • Background
  • Perspective / Height

Images should be similar enough to feel that they belong together and different enough to be interesting.

Some examples that come to my mind: Scars, open wallets, two parents and a baby, kids laying down with their dogs, cats climbing things, doorknobs, rusting boats, religious statues, smokers smoking, neon signs, construction sites, musicians' mouths while playing, slam dunking, baseball players in the same pose.

2) Skills / Technical

You will use Photoshop to assemble your hand-in image. Your nine photos should be perfectly aligned, with or without spaces between, on a solid background. No border is necessary for this assignment. The finished image should be 16 inches on the longest side.

  1. Re-size each picture to 4 inches on the longest side at 180 resolution
  2. File / New
    • Width = 16 inches (for wide photos)
    • Height = 12.5 inches
    • Reverse the dimensions for tall photos
  3. View / Show / Grid
  4. Move tool / Drag the first image onto the new file
  5. Decide how much room to leave between images.  You should leave the same amount of room above, below, left, and right of the image
  6. Place the other 8 images
  7. Add your name, title, and date
  8. Crop tool -
    • Set the width to 16 inches (or the height if it is tall)
    • Clear the other values (height, resolution)
    • Crop off any extra from the right side and the bottom
  9. Link the 9 layers with the images
  10. Layer / Merge Layers
  11. Optional - Frames
    • Layer / Layer Style / Stroke
    • Choose the colour and size
  12. File / Save As
    • Save as PSD if you plan to edit more later
    • Save as JPG to your desktop folder and to my handin folder

3) Elements and Principles of Design

Most of the Elements and Principles can be used in this assignment.  Especially look out for repetition, value, colour, unity, line, texture, and balance.

4) Creativity / Originality

Creativity and originality are the most important aspects of this assignment. You can demonstrate creativity in a number of ways:

  • Choice of theme
  • Choice of individual subjects
  • Choice of background
  • Perspective choice
  • Lighting

5) Professionalism

Professionalism is based on the attention paid to the accurate and careful presentation of the final project.

  • Project handed in on time
  • 1 electronically submitted image - to the Photo Room server
  • Your image should be 16 inches on the longest side at 180 dpi
  • Use the jpg format

Proper file name

  • username-typology.jpg

6) Journal Entries


Write a one-paragraph entry. What theme will you photograph? What will the pictures look like - Black and white? Looking down? Shallow depth of field? Use of Elements and Principles of Design? Lighting?


Write a two-paragraph entry. What theme did you choose? How did you decide on this theme? How do you feel about the final result? What did you do to make your images interesting and attractive? What did you find challenging about this assignment? What did you learn?