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Basic Compositional Elements

The basic compositional elements that go into a photograph are line, dimension, value (brightness), color, mass/weight, depth, and the illusions of reality, time, and motion.

Discovering how to analyze the formal aspects of a work of art begins with a basic discussion of the visual elements. Lines, depth, colors, and anything else that guides the eye through a photograph are part of its composition. Mastering composition is one of the more difficult and most powerful aspects of producing meaningful nude photographs. To get there, you must first understand these most basic elements.

Dimension is the concept of defining the height, width, and depth of an object. Most dimensional elements in figure photography are straight lines and curves.

The use of lines is an effective way to add structure to an image. Lines are apparent in the distinction between light and dark, especially at the edge of the subject seen against the background and in the limbs.

After lines, two-dimensional shapes are the next dimensional element. Similar to lines, shapes, such as circles and triangles, can be definite or implied.

A rectangle is implied by the shape of the legs.
A rectangle is implied by the shape of the legs.