VIDEO: The 7 formal elements of photography explained

VIDEO: The 7 formal elements of photography explained

Learn how to apply formal elements to your image compositions with our video and achieve visually stunning results for your photography

Formal elements are design elements that all image makers should be aware of when considering image compositions. They can often make up the primary visual features of a frame and, when applied, have the potential to transform simple subjects into fantastic shots.

The seven formal elements are commonly known as:

- Line

- Shape & Form

- Pattern

- Tone

- Colour

- Texture

- Space

As we’ll explain in this video, using formal elements in your frame will bring order to your compositions and help you emphasise the most critical aspects of the scene. They can be applied to practically any subject or genre in photography. In fact, many of the world's most successful photographers base their images around formal elements, and understanding them is essential to developing your skills for any photographer.

This video breaks down each formal element with visual examples, so you can begin to identify where you can find them in the environment around you. Over time, you may also find that you’re particularly drawn to one or two formal elements more than the others. You could find that much of your photography becomes based around formal elements, regardless of the subject or genre you tend to shoot in.

And another common way to use formal elements, as explained in this video, is to combine formal elements. What we mean by this is combining, for example, a focus on colour with texture or line with tone. This method, in particular, is a fantastic opportunity to amplify the content and quality of your images. Not to mention, as formal elements are such strong visual assets, you'll find that your images may be more commercially viable too, particularly for wall art. More a more in-depth look at this, see our video on creating images for wall art.

We hope you find this educational and inspirational video for your photography practice; take a look at our more photography video tutorials with our dedicated section of Focus.

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