Elements of design plays a major role in composing a photograph in a way that is understood by the viewer consciously or unconsciously.
The artists and painters depend heavily on the elements of design while they create the artwork. It is probably the fundamental requirement for any artist to understand these elements in order to design their artwork.
Unfortunately it is not the same with most of the photographers. We tend to start taking photographs right away without having the required knowledge on composition. Most of the photographers probably will learn just the Rule of Thirds and Leading Lines composition techniques and stick to them.
Elements of design will open up plethora of opportunities to tap into the creative side of you. You will start to create the work of art than a photographer who is confined to few rules.
Without further ado let us jump into the design…
The Elements of Design
The 7 most important elements of design in Photography are:
Each of these elements help you to design your photograph such a way that it emphasizes one or the other important aspect in composition. They bring an order in to a photograph.
In this article we will briefly discuss about each of these elements of design.
Line is the most important element of all and also the most strongest in its meaning. Your eyes follow the line whether it is visible or invisible. Based on its character and direction, lines communicate emotions making it one of the strongest elements of design.
Horizontal lines suggest feeling of restfulness or calmness, vertical lines suggest feeling of power, and diagonal lines suggest feeling of movement and direction. Soft curved lines represents relaxing or soothing feel whereas acute or jagged lines suggest frenzy or chaotic feeling and so on.
Read more on how to use Lines to create effective compositions.
Shape is a two dimensional representation of an object. Kids draw primarily using the shapes like an outline of a farm house, a tree, sun, etc. The outer line of an object forms the shape.
In photography, you can represent interesting shapes of the objects by using silhouette effect due to backlighting. Silhouette photographs make an impact when the shape of the subject (object) is clearly defined in contrast with the background.
Read more on how to use Shapes to make unique photographs.
Form is a three dimensional representation of an object. A third dimension (thickness) to the Shape yields Form.
Photography (and art) is a two dimensional form lacking the depth which poses a challenge to you as a photographer to somehow represent the third dimension by creating an illusion of depth.
By using light and shadow you can create an illusion of depth in your photograph.
Read more on how to use Form to make unique photographs.
Texture represents the details that are present on the surface of an object. You can use texture to create photographs that are visually interesting.
Direction of light plays an important role in bringing out the textures. Based on the mood you want to convey in your photograph, you will either wait for the light that will emphasize the roughness or softness of an object.
Patterns are repetition of Shapes or Textures that are organized in a rhythmic way.
If you carefully look for patterns there are everywhere in nature and also in man-made things. By using these patterns you can compose a visually compelling image that keeps the viewer engaged.
Sometimes breaking this harmony or rhythm in pattern yields much better results by yielding a dynamic composition.
Color is a major design element that we love. Colors play an important role to set the mood of the photograph.
The colors can be broadly classified as warm colors and cool colors. Red, Orange, and Yellow are the warm colors that suggest the feeling of warmth, liveliness, and energetic whereas Blue and Green are cool colors that suggest the feeling of calmness, tranquility, and sad/gloomy.
Space is another important element of design that suggests the distance between the objects, perspective, and proportions of objects.
A subject represents the positive space in an image and the background represents the negative space. Negative space is as important as the positive space in defining the shape of the subject.
Space makes a subject feel comfortable in the image if composed using the rule of thirds.
The elements of design described above form the foundation of good composition for photography.
Next articles will discuss each of these elements in detail to enable you to understand them in depth.
Do you use these elements of design consciously in your photographs? What elements of design do you think makes a photograph more compelling than the other?
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