The Power of Shapes in Photography


Drawing the attention of your viewer can be difficult especially if you don’t have a clear understanding of what you want to see in your shot. Sometimes, the image you have in your head doesn’t quite translate to the one you’re composing with your camera. They can be awkward, too noisy with clutter, or too bare.

Credits: mingkie

Shapes are part of a universal language. It’s a visual element that makes a striking impact across different visual media. Painters, sculptors, architects, and builders throughout history have used shapes to get their message across. Maybe it’s time you do, too.

Use Strong Lines to Add Drama

Credits: vicuna

What made this shot worth adding to the list? Well, imagine taking out the shadow and window placement and replacing it with another closed window. It wouldn't be the same right? The strong lines from the shadow add depth to the photograph, giving it variety and character. Remember to look for lines to create shapes that can make your image pop.

Create Shapes Using Spaces

Credits: cristianogerardi

Shapes can sometimes take the form of empty spaces. Use your imagination to draw lines and figures all over your frame. Keep an eye out for shadows, lines, and subjects that form a unique shape. It may be difficult at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be composing your shots according to different shapes without you noticing it. Call it force of habit.

More Elements, More Shapes

Credits: superlighter

This photograph is busy. It has different shapes incorporated into one single frame but somehow, it works. The symmetry provided by the half moon mirror adds character and feel to the shot. It connects the two persons up front as if imposing them onto the consciousness of the viewer. Sometimes, less is indeed more but not in this case.

The Lines That Lead

Credits: cfehse

Natural lines make up some of the most intriguing shots. They can lead the eyes to the subject with ease and sometimes all it takes is finding a good angle for the shot. Also, it won’t hurt to add color that just pops.

Illustrate Motion and Direction

Credits: dannyedwards

One good thing about shapes, even when blurred is that they can demonstrate movement. Combine it with angle and appropriate lighting and you have yourself a dynamic image. Use the shape of your subject to direct the eyes of your viewer to where you want it to be.

These are just a few examples. Do you have your own techniques what you would like to share? Sound off in the comment section below and be heard!

written by cheeo on 2018-08-01 #tutorials #tutorial #direction #shapes


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Thanks for choosing on of my shots! :)

  2. cheeo
    cheeo ·

    @vicuna :) what a strong image!

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    @cheeo thanks! :)

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