Pics With Shapes & Shadows
“Each image is a battle of form versus content”
The exciting part of photography is deciding what to frame your shot. Creative elements such as lines, shapes,
Creative elements such as lines, shapes, form, patterns and colors can come into your work and explore them will give your soul, great satisfaction.
Basically, forms are highlighted by their lines, shapes, and volume and so photographing form can also mean be depicting an outline of a three dimensional object (e.g. a flower) or composing a shot from an unusual perspective and revealing its shape in an abstract manner.
The difference between shape and form in photography
Form is similar to shape, but there is a difference between them: form is a three dimensional object with shape and volume, while shape is just the two dimensional side of form: the shape without depth.
The eye is immediately drawn to form in an image and you can achieve this by showing the contours of a subject, like the body of a newborn baby or the bold contours of round rocks on the beach. A sphere is a great example of an object that is interesting due to its form rather its shape.
When you’re photographing, try to “see” your objects as silhouettes and if you lose interest in them as flat objects, then you know that you should capture them in a three-dimensional form.
When to emphasize form / shape
Form is appealing to viewers because a photograph that appears three dimensional creates an emotion of presence and space. If your image can make the viewers feel as if they can reach out and literally touch the object, then you’ve successfully revealed its form.
Given that almost everything around us has a form, the secret is to know when to capture an object’s two dimensional contour and when to emphasize its three dimensional side. Watch how the light falls on an object and notice the overlapping shadows and highlights, and even in a two dimensional image try to make it seem as if you can reach out and touch the subject.
This distinction is important, because shape and form can create two different types of compositions. If your subject stirs interest due to its shape, then you should put more emphasis on the shooting angle and the arrangement of other elements in the frame. If your subject is more appealing due to its form, you should be more focused on highlights and shadows and how you can best depict its two-dimensional shape.
Choosing the correct lighting
The best way to capture form in photography is to use proper lighting. Ideally, you should photograph during the Golden Hour, at sunrise and sunset, when the light is softer and does not fall directly from overhead. Especially when light falls from the side, your subject is painted gracefully, and the light brings out its contoured form through shadow.
Flowers make great subjects due to their rich textures, patterns and colors. Colors usually dominate and draw the eye, but form is the primary element in compositions. In order for an image to capture form, the volume of an object must be conveyed.
Changing your perspective
Here is a tip for the next time you try to capture form in an image. Instead of standing right in front of the subject and just capture its shape change your perspective by moving around until shadows begin to reveal its form.
You can also experiment with angles to convey an object’s form in an unusual way. Shooting from a low angle can make objects appear larger than they really are. On the other hand, photographing objects from above will make them appear smaller and uninteresting.
Perspective is a great way to emphasize an object’s significance, and though it may not influence the objects’ actual shape, it can have a strong impact on how viewers see it in terms of form and how that object reveals its three-dimensional structure.
A great way to add depth and volume to an object is by adding other elements in different planes of the photograph. Form can also be conveyed through a subject’s connection with other elements. By including objects on different planes in the frame (from foreground to the background) you can convey the subject’s three-dimensional attributes.
You can also capture an object’s volume by positioning your subject into the background and allowing other objects in the foreground to fall out of focus. This technique is called Selective Focus and it is a great way to add a sense of creativity to your work.
Experimenting with Black and White
Form can also be effectively captured in black & white. Since there are no colors to distract the eye from the subject’s attributes, you can create some beautifully composed images. To get a better understanding of form, try to convert your shots to black & white and notice how form and shape are captured.