Photography Composition - Weebly

Photography Composition - Weebly

Photography The Elements of Art and Principles of Design Elements of Art The Basic Building Blocks

Line Shape

Form Space Value Texture Color

LINE A mark made by a moving point. Has greater length than width. Directs the eye horizontal, vertical,

diagonal, curvy, zig-zag, etc. Can be actual obvious lines or the borders or edges of shapes. Line can be real or implied


Andy Goldsworthy Shape Shape is an enclosed space defined by other elements of art. Shape is 2-Dimensional

Shape can be: Geometric: Angular, man-made concept: circle, triangle, square Organic: curvilinear - found in nature

Fernana Leger, The City Matisse, from the series Jazz SHAPE

FORM SPACE Positive space (occupied space) the area

the objects/subject takes up. Negative space (unoccupied space) the area around, under, through and between. Gives the photo a 3-dimensional feeling Depth of Field Foreground (closest) bottom

Middle ground middle Background (farthest) top Can be open, crowded, near, far, etc. Positive and Negative Space

Space Positive space is filled by a shape or form. Negative space surrounds a shape or form.

SPACE Atmospheric Perspective Objects close = detailed, bright, sharp Objects far = blurred, dull/gray One point perspective

One vanishing point 2 point perspective 2 vanishing points

Atmospheric Perspective SPACE SPACE linear

perspective VALUE Black and White and all the Grays in between

Dark to Light Can add drama and impact to composition. Adds contrast Creates 3D form

Value An element of art that refers to luminance or luminosity the lightness or darkness of a color. Value is an especially important element in works of art

when color is absent. This is particularly likely with drawings, printmaking, and photographs Kathe Kollwitz, Self portrait

Value Chuck Close (made w/ thumbprints!)

Edward Weston, Pepper (photograph) VALUE

TEXTURE The surface quality. How an object feels, or how it looks like it feels.

Rough, smooth, bumpy, gooey, sharp, etc. Adds interest! Sense of sight and sense of touch involved.


Artistic term is HUE Need light to see color.

Primary, Secondary, Intermediates. Use color schemes to enhance appeal or make an impact. Cool Warm

Color schemes: Analagous, Complementary, monochromatic Warm Colors Colors that are often described as being higher in temperature

Reds, oranges, yellows Associated with fire and sun Optically, appear to advance Stimulating and passionate

Ex. Warm Cool Colors that are often described as being lower in temperature

Greens, Blues, and Violet Associated with water, sky, and spring Optically, they appear to recede Calming and depressing

Ex. Cool COLOR Analagous - Warm

Monochromatic - Cool COLOR

COLOR Complementary Principles of Design

The different arrangements or compositions - of the ELEMENTS of design to create artistic, interesting, more visually powerful photographs. Principles of Design

Emphasis / Focal Point Balance

Unity Contrast Movement/ Rhythm Pattern/Repetition Economy

BALANCE Balance is a sense of stability in the body of work. Balance can be created by repeating same shapes

and by creating a feeling of equal weight. Symmetrical Asymmetrical

BALANCE - Symmetrical BALANCE - Asymmetrical Symmetrical/Formal Balance

Diane Arbus, Twins BALANCE BALANCE

VARIETY Variety is all of the different elements in the photograph Variety adds interest to the work and keeps the viewers eyes moving around the piece

You can achieve variety by using different elements in your work, such as: Shapes Textures

Colors Values VARIETY

VARIeTEY too much? MOVEMENT / RHYTHM Movement adds excitement to your work by showing action and directing

the viewers eye throughout the picture plane. Rhythm is a type of movement in an artistic composition. It is seen in repeating of shapes and colors.

Alternating lights and darks also give a sense of rhythm. MOVEMENT / RHYTHM

MOVEMENT EMPHASIS / FOCAL POINT Emphasis in a composition refers to developing points of interest to pull

the viewer's eye to important parts of the body of the work. Size, shape, color, placement, contrast, etc.

EMPHASIS / FOCAL POINT PATTERN / REPETITION An element that occurs over and over again in a composition.

Can repeat the element in a consistent pattern. Can repeat the element in a variation of the pattern.


Contrast refers to the opposites and differences in the work. It creates interest, draws the viewers eye, and creates impact in the work. You can create contrast through different elements in

your work such as contrast in: Shapes (organic vs. geometric) Textures (rough vs. smooth) Colors (complements)

Values (light vs. dark) -- Lines (straight vs. wavy, thin vs. thick) -- and many more CONTRAST

CONTRAST ECONOMY Economy takes into account that less is more.

Using minimal visual information to convey the concept. ECONOMY

UNITY Unity is seen in a composition when all the parts equal a whole. Ways to achieve unity: -Repeat elements: line, shapes, forms,

colors. -Use a color scheme: analagous, complementary, triad, etc. -Overlap forms, lines, shapes.


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