Whether consciously or not, as photographers, we work with elements of design in photography.

These elements have an impact on our photos, and can turn ordinary subjects into striking images.

Having a good understanding of these elements of design in photography can help improve our images, and create stronger work.

This series will focus on individual elements of design that every photographer should know.


Line is perhaps the strongest, and most visually important element of design we can use in photography.

Summit  (Image by Steven Cheah)

Summit (Image by Steven Cheah)

Wolf Pack  (Image by Alexander Matthews)

Wolf Pack (Image by Alexander Matthews)

Strong horizontal lines can create a sense of calmness, whereas vertical lines can be suggestive of power.

LXC  (Image by Loke Roos)

LXC (Image by Loke Roos)

Summit  (Image by Brandy Sisson)

Summit (Image by Brandy Sisson)

Summit  (Image by Rodica Petrusan)

Summit (Image by Rodica Petrusan)

Diagonal lines can suggest a more dynamic feeling, or movement.

Wolf Pack  (Image by Cassandra Casley)

Wolf Pack (Image by Cassandra Casley)

ExFilm  (Image by Shawn Moreton)

ExFilm (Image by Shawn Moreton)

LXC  (Image by Tania Salim)

LXC (Image by Tania Salim)

Soft curved lines can imply a relaxed or soothing feeling, while jagged lines imply a more chaotic feeling.

Terrain  (Image by Mark Lee)

Terrain (Image by Mark Lee)

LXC  (Image by Beau Walchek)

LXC (Image by Beau Walchek)

Terrain  (Image by Shawn Moreton)

Terrain (Image by Shawn Moreton)

Wolf Pack  (Image by Mandy Luminais)

Wolf Pack (Image by Mandy Luminais)

Leading lines can be used to guide the viewers eye through an image, perhaps to direct their attention to an important element in the photograph.

LXC  (Image by Jose Puebla)

LXC (Image by Jose Puebla)

Summit  (Image by Piotr Dynarski)

Summit (Image by Piotr Dynarski)

LXC  (Image by Rachel Black)

LXC (Image by Rachel Black)

Becoming familiar with the basic elements of design in photography can help you produce images that have more visual impact.

A good way to understand these elements is to review your portfolio, and analyze how the various design principles were applied, and what effect or mood they covey.

You can also go out and shoot some photos with these ideas in mind, and train your eye to see the elements of design in the world around you.

Understanding these tools will help you create stronger images, more effectively deliver the feeling or mood you are trying to convey, and make you a better photographer!

Summit  (Image by Christin Hume)

Summit (Image by Christin Hume)