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Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 24 of 50

Elements of Design - Shape

Chris Weston

Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

24. Elements of Design - Shape


Class Trailer
1 Your 10,001st Photograph 03:24 2 Camera Gear 03:03 3 Piece of Gear We Always Forget 03:47 4 Be a Storyteller 03:09 5 Finding Ideas For Photography - Know Your Subject 06:59 6 Cae Study - Why Are Zebras Black and White Striped 01:30 7 Photograph What You Love 02:00 8 See the Extraordinary in Ordinary Things 01:31

Lesson Info

Elements of Design - Shape

in the same way distinct lines help define the visual story. The same could be said of shape. Some shape such a squares, rectangles and triangles or keyboards and pyramids typically depicts turning us and solidity. Imagine trying to topple over a pyramid and you'll get my point in a photograph. That solidity also creates status and the lack of visual energy on a triangle. A pyramid upside down, however, and it's prone to topple over all on its own is no longer stable and static is wobbly, andan balanced again. The visual implication is emitted energetically and psychologically so as to create a feeling of uneasiness, an imbalance in the viewer on Because an unbalanced objects suggest movement, it creates visual energy. Triangles can also be leading lines pointing into or out of the image space, drawing attention to the subject or area of the scene or taking you out of the space altogether. They are also strong metaphors. Sharp points are associated with danger and pain, so the triangle...

s formed by the jagged edges of a mountain range, for example, might reminders of a sore or serrated knife. All of these associations implications, metaphors and assumptions transmit emotive energy from the photograph to the viewer on their psychological effects must be considered when you're composing the image circles and ellipses, which have no beginning or end lead nowhere. Instead, they frame and enclose whatever is contained inside them. In this case, May, which holds the viewer's gaze to the exclusion of everything else. In that sense, whether implicit or like an archway, implied circles may be employed as a compositional tool for visually removing distracting detail circles, also a symbol of rhythm and unity. The Olympic emblem, for example, represents the Union of the five continents. However, another word for Enclosed is entrapped, which brings with it connotations of constraint. As with all other shapes, each of these overtones and intimations must be considered when composing a photograph. So how does this work in practice? Well, to answer that question in the next lesson, I'm going to take you back to one of my favorite photographic locations. Marrakech. No

Class Description



  • Compose a shot consistently and effectively
  • Create artistic, powerful images quickly
  • Gain confidence in building narrative
  • Identify what stories you’re drawn to photograph
  • Brainstorm and develop concepts for creative shots
  • Trust your instincts when approaching a subject


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course. This is the second class in the series.

Today, everybody has a camera, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s a photographer. Chris Weston will show you how to do all the other stuff – how to “see” an image, tap into your creativity, and compose a photograph that makes the subject look as good in print as it does in real life.

This class isn’t about cameras, it’s about you – the photographer. It will break free your creative mind, get you thinking about narrative rather than object, and show you how to apply simple artistic skills that turn that next click into a powerful photograph.

Learn how to approach photography like a pro and start creating great pictures straight away. With in-the-field lessons, case studies and powerful tips and techniques, you’ll quickly unleash your creativity and gain confidence in expressing yourself through your camera.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer who wants to hone their artistic skills


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


Edmund Cheung

Perhaps the style of presentation and simple, short, and direct messaging does not "jive" with some; but others may really love this. Yes the production of each episode is stylized and perhaps a bit formal (like a TV Show?), but there is something to be said about it. Perhaps this is not meant for professional photographers? I think of myself as decent amateur / high level photographer. I found lots of great nuggets of wisdom and inspiration from this. Especially when I an in a rut for creativity. Yes I have heard all these concepts and ideas before. BUT it is always great to hear and see a different way of presentation and voice. Please do NOT take the naysayer reviews as the end all. You should judge for yourself and watch a few episodes. If the style and content click for you, I would highly recommend this course.

Kai Atherton

While I am perhaps more advanced in my photography then this course. It is always great to be able to go back to fundamentals and remind ourselves of the basic principles, and even camera function. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and Chris's other. It is a great motivational jumpstart when lacking fresh creative idea's.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering the art of photography ) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.