2.1. Elements and Principles of Art and Design used in Photography

Taking a great picture is supported by a harmonious composition.

To some extent, this means that you follow photography composition rules - which actually derive from principles of art and design. 

Decide first who is your main subject / focal point - help the viewer see it first and then see the rest of the elements in your composition.

If you followed an art or design school, these elements may appeal very familiar -  if you are self-taught person as myself (with an ocean-deep passion to all that is art related), then these may come very handy to you by learning or refreshing these concepts now.

Once you go through and “see” and “feel” them, you can apply all easily, in a natural way, without thinking “what technical rules do I have to apply in this particular situation?”...

Here are the elements and principles of art and design we find in each composition in photography.

A. Elements

  • Colour
  • Tone
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Form
  • Space
  • Texture
  • Pattern

B. Principles

  • Proportion: realistic, altered or aesthetic
  • Balance: symmetry, asymmetry, radial symmetry
  • Movement: blurring, optical illusion, compositional movement
  • Emphasis: contrast, placement, isolation, convergence, unusual
  • Rhythm
  • Unity
  • Variety.

Each topic is supported by examples of pictures and paintings that best reflect the substance of it.

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