Note Elements of Interest for Close-Up Photographs - dummies

Note Elements of Interest for Close-Up Photographs

By Thomas Clark

Elements of interest are details that make a close-up subject eye-catching. These draw you to the subject and appear in just about anything from a rusty nail to a smooth, curvaceous flower petal. Novice photographers may not know exactly why they are drawn to a certain subject (just like most viewers don’t know why they like an image).

Become aware of the elements of design associated with particular subjects so you can share with viewers what you found to be so interesting in a particular scene.

The first element of design that affects how people see an image is the literal sense of the subject matter. For example, when you see a photograph of a cactus, you think cactus. But your goal as a photographer should be to get more from viewers. By understanding which elements of design exist in, on, and around a subject, you can achieve a better response than, “Hey, there’s a cactus.”

Below is a list of the major elements of design that deserve attention when you’re searching for the perfect subject:

  • Shape refers to the outline of a subject, and it plays a basic and important role in photographic composition. Most people can probably identify a mushroom, a key, or an apple core (to name a few) by shape alone.

  • Form is similar to shape but refers to the entire three-dimensional depiction of something. An orange is circular in shape and spherical in form.

  • Size is a relative element. You can photograph an anthill to look like a mountain, or you can reveal its size by including an ant in the frame. You can use size to compare two subjects of equal or differing dimensions. Size can also refer to how you present a subject within your frame — that is, whether it takes up a lot or a little of the frame.

  • Lines are very important elements of design; they can suggest direction, guide viewers through a frame, and even present the overall attitude of a subject. Notice the lines in a scene: Are they vertical, horizontal, or diagonal? Are they straight or wavy?

  • Texture is the surface quality of a subject. Use it correctly, and it becomes something viewers can almost feel in a photograph.

  • Repetition can refer to patterns, reflections, or similarities among multiple elements in a scene. It gets viewers involved with an image to compare the similar elements.

  • Color is a very important consideration when composing an image. This can determine how a person feels (consciously or subconsciously) about an image. Color plays a major role in determining the overall mood associated with photographs.