Shape

A strong shape is a bold attraction to the eye, something that you can use to structure your whole picture. It might consist of one object, or several items seen together in a way that forms a combined shape. Shape is also a good means of relating two otherwise dissimilar elements in your picture, one shape

Figure 5.5 Though not identical, there are enough similarities between the boats in this group to provide a visual echo of each other's design.

Figure 5.6 Though not identical, the shapes and colors of the clothed women in front of the Taj Mahal form an irregular pattern that adds interest to the picture's foreground.

echoing another, perhaps in a humorous way. Bear in mind too that shapes are often made stronger when repeated into a pattern - like the informal rows of crates in Figure 5.4 or (very differently) the irregular pattern of similarly shaped boats in Figure 5.5.

The best way to emphasize shape is by careful choice of viewpoint and the use of contrast. Check through the viewfinder that you are in the exact position to see the best shape. Small camera shifts can make big changes in edge junctures, especially when several things at different distances need to align and combine. If this position then leaves your subject too big or small in the frame, remain where you are, but zoom the lens until it fits your picture.

Shape will also gain strength and emphasis through contrast with its surroundings - difference in tone or color of background and lighting. A good example of this is the contrast of shape and color of the group of women in front of the Taj Mahal in Figure 5.6. Their repeating shapes add an extra dimension to the picture by providing a patterning effect. Sometimes you will find it possible to fill up a shape with pattern.

Figure 6.1 The patterns of the three chairs are made more dynamic by their contrasting colors and their positioning against the relatively muted tones of the background.
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