Shape is the first visual information human eye can take to understand a subject. From our childhood, we learn a lot from shapes. A recognizable shape is what makes us relate things subconsciously.
What is shape in photography? Shape is a definite distinctive form, something which is distinguished from its surrounding by its out line. It is two dimensional element of basic picture composition in photography. It usually helps us to identify the object.
This out line of the subject changes when we change the point of view. That is, when we move to different point of view the shape of the subject changes quickly. Some times this out line is not defined well and hence we cannot understand the subject. To define a subject, we must get an identifiable shape from an appropriate angle. We need to move around to see as how the shape of a subject is changing and how relevant is the point of view chosen.
To get the best of the shape in any subject the following tips may be tried
- Move around the subject to find a recognizable or attractive shape
- Choose a relatively clear background without clutter and confusion
- Find a contrasting colours or tones in the background to make the subject stand out in shape.
- Overlapping patterns or objects must be avoided to get the advantage of shape.
- Make the background out of focus to separate the subject shape clearly – use shallow depth of field controls.
- A strong rim light or back light all around the subject can pronounce the shapes more powerfully than a flat front light.
- The shapes without colour, texture and details are very interesting. They are called, ‘silhouettes’ in photography. Silhouettes are very powerful and aesthetic means of shape.
- Avoiding the camouflaging background will improve the feel of the shape.
- A side angle or a total profile shot will be ideal for identifying birds and animals distinctively.