Tag Archives: form

Do You Have a Favorite Element of Composition?

Sunlight on Mount Chapin, Colorado

If you’re a photographer, do you have a favorite element of composition that you use over and over again?  If you enjoy looking at photography, is there an element of composition that you find yourself repeatedly drawn to?

Opinions vary a bit in the details, but most lists of the elements of composition generally include line, shape, form, pattern, and texture.  Of course, these elements don’t exist in isolation, and indeed often build on each other:  lines give rise to shape, shapes give rise to form, forms give rise to patterns, and patterns give rise to texture.  Still, photographs often will display one of these elements with more emphasis than the others, and it seems fair to assume that a photographer’s body of work might skew towards the use of one of these elements more than the others.

It’s dangerous to analyze one’s own work, but if I had to take a guess, I would say my eye is drawn to line.  For example, the image in this post, “Sunlight on Mount Chapin,” exhibits a very strong line dividing the relatively darker lower half of the frame from the relatively lighter upper half of the frame.  To me, this line dominates the composition, arcing out of the lower left corner and creating a sense of movement in the composition.  Again, it’s hard to view one’s own work objectively, but I find it nevertheless to be a useful exercise, not only in creating my own work, but in helping me to analyze and understand why I may like or dislike the work of others.

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