Photography is an art, and like all forms of art, seven basic elements make up our image. I will challenge that number, but I think there are eight. Understanding these factors will help us take our creativity to the next level.
The first of these elements is a line. Most of our photos are made up of lines. We use them to guide the eyes around the image. This is called the reading line. Often confused with a drop line leading to the subject in the frame.
The line also acts as a blocker, preventing the viewer’s eyes from moving beyond a certain point. The horizon across the frame can do just that, and it’s usually considered bad. However, intentional use adds a surprising element to your photos, as it can delay viewers’ awareness of cross-border features. Such photos are hard to see. Personally, I like photos that are rewarding and require a little thought to understand.
The shape is formed by the boundaries of an enclosed two-dimensional space created by one or more lines. When we were toddlers, we probably learned the basics – circles, triangles, squares. As an aside, my favorite shape name is Chiliagon. Chiliagon is a chiliagon. This is not a named shape with most edges. A myriagon has 10,000 sides, and a million square has one million sides. But most of us don’t count the sides and probably only recognize octagons.
Shapes can give meaning to images. For example, the circle can be used to represent the notions of equality and unity, and completeness and infinity. Triangles, on the other hand, are sometimes used to represent strength. Therefore, triangles are often used in construction.
In photography, shape can be used as a symbol, as artists and designers have done for many years. However, the meaning of the shape can be influenced by cultural differences. Both pentagrams and hexagrams have very different meanings depending on the culture, depending on nationality, ethnic background, political or religious beliefs. Dating back to the 1920s, it had been used by Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains for thousands of years. In the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, its form was synonymous with happiness. It was then irreparably hijacked by the most evil government in human history. Of course, it was a swastika.
A form is a three-dimensional shape. In order to draw a shape in a two-dimensional photograph, we rely heavily on the nature of the light and its ability to illuminate and cast shadows. Therefore, the light of a gray cloudy day is called flat. This is because all the light in the photo appears to have no depth due to its uniform lighting. Under flat light, the shape returns to shape, which can result in loss of subject separation.
In the photo above, you can see that even a small amount of diffuse light has added the form to the post in the second image. The first is shot with uniform light, which makes the entire image appear flatter. Compare with the first photo at the beginning of this article. There, the light is even stronger and at a lower angle. As a result, the post on the left side of the frame shows more shape.
The brightness and darkness of the subject is at the forefront of most photographers’ minds. This element, known in the art as value, is commonly referred to in photography as luminosity. Black indicates a brightness value of 0 and white indicates a brightness value of 255. The gray in the middle is 127. Contrast occurs when the lightness of an area of a photo is different.
Shows the luminosity applied to the RGB text that represents the colors red, green, and blue.
That is, color is the next factor. A wide color gamut, or color gamut, can be obtained by mixing red, green, and blue in different proportions at all available light intensity. 256 (red) x 256 (green) x 256 (blue) = 16,777,216 possible combinations or hues. I named them a little over 9,000, but it’s too much to remember, so it’s imperative to use accurate numbers.
Colors can also vary in intensity and saturation. Therefore, HSL (Hue, Saturation, Brightness) adjustments can be used when developing and editing photos.
Like shapes, colors can also have symbolic meanings, and sometimes they are inconsistent.
Red can be the color of both love and war. Red lips and red eyes evoke very different emotions. A deficit day is very different from a letter you receive in deficit for an unpaid invoice. We are envy and environmentally friendly, but we want our companies to have strong environmental qualifications. And the emotions caused by the blue sea and sky are not related to having us blues.
Let’s boldly go to the elements of the universe. It can be divided into two categories: positive and negative.
Photographers often talk about negative spaces, the spaces around and between subjects. Sometimes negative spaces form more interesting shapes than the subject itself. Therefore, it can be used to challenge the understanding of the photo and, like the blocking lines mentioned above, to delay the realization of the purpose of the image. You can also use it to line up two different ideas in one photo.
Positive space is the opposite of negative space, where the area of interest is in the photo.
Together, positive and negative spaces are usually arranged in a way that matches one of the many rules of configuration. Unjustified criticism can be directed at photos that have too much negative space. However, when used correctly, it can be a powerful configuration tool.
The last recognized artistic element is texture. In the eyes of our minds, we can imagine how an object feels with its texture. Smoothness reflects light evenly, while rough textures scatter the reflected light. There is a matte surface between these two.
All of these elements work best when you see contrast in your photos. Light and dark colors, complementary colors such as orange and blue, curves and straight lines, simple and complex shapes, small and large shapes, positive and negative spaces, rough and smooth textures. These are just a few of the contrasts proposed by Johannes Itten, a well-known tutor at the Bauhaus School, written in an article last May.
But other artistic elements I think are mistakenly excluded from the list. That is one point. It is the basis of all visual elements, the peculiarity of space, and geometrically where the two lines meet. It is located alone within that category and therefore cannot be contrasted with other points to allow lines, shapes, and shapes. Nevertheless, it can create a contrast with any of the other elements.
As always, this is a brief introduction and touches the surface of this topic lightly. If you have any doubts about the use of this knowledge, embedding the ideas of these elements in your subconscious will help you discover new configurations. To achieve that, photography students are encouraged to treat each element as a practice photography topic. It helps you to see how artistic elements can influence the structure of a photo.
I hope this helps. We’ll talk more about it in a future article. It’s great to hear your thoughts on this topic below.