Photo Composition for Better Photography
Notes from the Web



A shape is a two dimensional area which stands out from the surrounding space because of a defined boundrary or because of a difference of line, color, intensity, or texture.

Shapes also play a dominant role in identifying objects in everyday life.


Shapes can be real or implied:

  • Real shapes (examples):

    Natural or organic shapes - stones, leaves, clouds, plants, humans, etc

    Geometric shapes - composed of one or more simple shapes (circle, square, hexagon, etc) such as ponds, race tracks, crystals, buildings, man-made objects

    Shape as outline - silhouettes, skylines, etc

  • Implied shapes- including

    Shapes created by lines that connect objects, such as the eliptical shape created by the circular arranglement of four birds

    Shapes created by regions of contrast or color such as a bright region in the middle of a photo

    Shapes created by objects that form the sides of a shape. For example, a man reclining at the base of a tree join to form a slender triangular shape

    Shapes can also be carved out by the positive and negative space of a photo.


More about shapes

  • Simple shapes such as squares or circles will tend to dominate a photo, and thus can often be found at the photo's center.
  • The eye enjoys interesting shapes and forms, and will stay in the picture to examine each one
  • Consider placing people so they form an implied shape such as a triangle, diamond, or circle.