Elements of Composition


Line is a compositional technique that appear in a photograph that has been framed and positioned by the photographer. The lines can be human made or natural lines that lead the viewers eye through the photograph to the subject or heart of the image, now they can be noticeable or very subtle. Lines can be used across all kinds of photography, from portraits to landscape shots. They can be anything from people to roads or lines of a tree leading you somewhere as Lines can be present or implied and they can be straight or curved.

These are all different types of lines;

  • Horizontal Lines
  • Vertical Lines
  • Diagonal Lines
  • Curved Lines

  • Horizontal Lines
  • Vertical Lines
  • Diagonal Lines
  • Curved Lines

Lines direct the viewer through the image, like this:

Your eyes go from one element to the next, in order to view details and understand the story that's being told and that's where the Lines come into play because they guide the eyes through the image.


Color is one of the most obvious elements of composition. The use of color in photography serves a few purposes as it is used to draw attention in a simple and effective way. The viewer's attention is first caught by color usually, a vivid or bright hue is needed. This kind of hue has a tendency to seize the viewer's attention and direct it toward the colored area. Furthermore, color has a tendency to hold the viewer's interest for a long time.

There are ways to use color to grab viewers attention. One way is to use very saturated and bold colors while another is to use a mix of contrasting colors. To compose images using color, adjust them by following one of the principal color schemes like analogous, complementary, triads, etc.

You can create more depth by separating warm and cool colors.


In photography, Texture refers to the visual quality of the surface of an object, revealed through variances in shape, tone and color depth.Texture brings life and vibrance to an image that would ordinarily look flat.

Texture can be used to create contrast between two elements, one that is smooth and one that's rough. It can be used to add interest to an otherwise dull subjects and it also adds depth to your image.


Curves make an image easy to look at by leading the viewer's eye through the frame. It is almost as if the photographer takes the viewer by the hand, draws them into the landscape, and points the way. The viewer's eyes are compelled to follow the line. Curves are graceful, rhythmic, dynamic and add energy to an image.

Types of Curves

  • S-curves
  • Circles
  • Archies
  • C-curves

Types of Curves

  • Circles: Often found in architectures too, and frequently in nature, adds depth and variety to the image.
  • S-curves : This has a mesmerising effect on the viewer as their eyes sweep back and forth through the frame. it also creates a sense of depth as the eyes move from foreground to background. Can be found in the natural flow of river, a winding road or a pathway.

  • C-curves: usually the easiest curve to find. It drags your eyes through the curve to its subject placed in it.

  • Arches : Usually found in architectures and can be repetitive, you can find it in ancient sites, churches, museum etc.

Geometric Shapes

Geometric composition in photography can be engaging, can make the picture look dynamic, and can give the picture a lot of depth and visual appeal. All of the lines, curves, shapes, and angles can provide a dynamic atmosphere to the image, which can be used to make images that are visually calming or that are tense. When using geometry in photography, we are basically incorporating shapes and lines in the photographs. Although you should be careful how you employ them in the image, horizontal lines can be used to convey strength. A topic can be framed with both horizontal and vertical lines.

Diagonal lines can be used to convey motion or direction.

Triangles based on how they are used may create tension or sometimes even balance in images.

Circles may give a feeling of continuous movement and also help with capturing dynamic photographs. 

Using Geometry for effective story telling

  • If you want to show scary or negative emotions in your photograph, look for triangular shapes and forms and include them in your composition. Sometimes triangles can also be used to show power or stability depending on how it is used. 
  • Use circles to show a sense of calm and friendly emotions. They can also be used to portray harmonious scenarios.
  • Squares and rectangles can be used to show stability, but these can also alternatively be used to show trapped situations.  
  • Use lines to show growth, calmness, serenity, power, etc. Pay attention to what kind of lines you are using. 


Pattern is defined as repeated set of shapes, forms, lines or colors that create a harmonious visual effect. they are elements within the scene that repeats themselves in predictable ways.

Patterns are amazing ways to make interesting images and the key is to really fit them in the frame well (fill the frame). Patterns can be found in everyday life through nature, architecture and even street photography

Shapes and Form

Shape is generally considered two dimensional while Form is three dimensional. How we light an object can determined wether it's perceived as a shape(if the lighting is flat or silhouetted) or a form(if the lightening has accentuated shadows and highlights to create depth.)

Shapes is a powerful tools for creating compelling images by incorporating strong lines , curves and other shapes into a composition, photographer can add depth and dimension to their photograph.


Value refers to how light or dark something is in a photograph. it refers to the shades of white , black and grey. The more tonal variants in an image, the lower the contrast. When shades of similar value are used together, they also create a low contrast image.

Value is responsible for the appearance of texture and light in art. Although paintings and photographs do not often physically light up, the semblance of light and dark can be achieved through the manipulation of value.


The way you put forms and shapes together occupies space within a frame. This arrangement is the composition and also leaves empty or “negative space” around and between other forms. This negative space can become an interesting compositional element as well. 

The space in photography is a method of incorporating visual absence to give a subject room to breathe.

Although the rule of space is more like a guide than a rigid rule, it is a handy compositional device. It’s a great way to add a sense of vastness, depth, and/or motion to a photograph.

Photographers use the terms Positive and negative space to contrast impactful and more subtle areas in a photograph.

Generally, positive space refers to specific subjects that command a viewer’s attention. Negative space, on the other hand, is less visually demanding and provides a frame for the main event in an image.