Elements of Visual Design – Shape

To continue our series on visual design, we will take a look at shapes and its impact on photographic composition. Besides the rule of thirds, which everyone has heard of and applied a million times in their images, there are other compositions that can make your images stand out in a crowd. One of these compositions is the use of shapes in your images.

There are three basic shapes that can be used in photography; circles, squares, and triangles, but its a little more complicated than finding shapes in the real world. You almost have to look at subjects in an abstract manner to identify which shapes it can contain. Not every subject can use shapes as a composition so it is good to start looking around in a more abstract view to identify what subjects would qualify for this composition. The image below is a good example. The image is not of a shape but the subject contains a certain shape. When you look at it, you can identify the circles that the flowers make.

Yellow flower

Yellow flower circleAnother shape that you find in many images are squares.  Compositions using squares can be of a cityscape with several buildings, windows, or doors.  The buildings themselves are in a square or rectangle shape just like that of the windows and doors that make up the building.



Triangles on the other hand, can be a little more difficult.  You can find triangles in images of roads that converge in the distance, or in images of mountains when they take on the shape of a triangle.



Another form of using shape in your composition is when you take pictures containing silhouettes.  This is still considered a 2D image of something that is clearly identifiable and backlit.  An image of a tree with the sunset behind it causes the tree to lose all detail rendering it black in your image.  You can see it is still a tree, but it is the shape of the tree that is the composition, not the sunset.


Our next post will concentrate on form as an element of visual design.  It is similar to shape but in a 3D context.

<<, prev, next, >>

#photography #arts #visualdesign

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s