6 Basic Elements of Photography Every Newbie Must Understand


In 2019, there were about 50,000 employed photographers in the United States.

If you’re interested in becoming a photographer whether it’s for business or pleasure, you’ll have a bunch of other people to compete against. That’s why it’s important to understand the basics of photography to take the best photos.

If you’ve ever wished that your pictures had more depth or excitement, you need to master the basics. These elements of photography will turn you into a pro.


  1. Lines

Understanding how lines work in photography may be one of the first basics you should understand.

Every shape has some kind of line in it, and the lines are what makeup patterns, textures, the rule of thirds, and many more basics.

When there are lines in a picture, it will help guide the viewer’s eyes directly to some focal point. If you can, you should try and use lines to help people focus on the important subject of the photograph.

The lines don’t always have to be straight though. They could be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, parallel, or even run into each other. Different lines can create different moods and tones for your photo though.

For example, horizontal lines may make the photograph feel more stable or reliable. Vertical lines could mean some kind of growth or change.


  1. Lighting

Just like lines, lighting is also incredibly important.

Knowing how to use and manipulate light will help your photos turn out well so that you can actually see what the picture is about.

There are two different kinds of lights you can use to get the picture you want, and each of them will also create a different mood for your photograph. Artificial light is creating your own light, so like using a lamp or a flash from a camera.

Natural light is light from the sun or a sunset that will help make your photos feel more relatable.

In addition to the type of light you use, you also know how to use shadows and make sure the light isn’t too harsh or too subtle. If you’re trying to shoot portraits outside with natural light, picking a day where it’s overcast will provide the perfect light.

That way there will be plenty of light, but it won’t be shining down so harshly on your subject, making them appear washed out.


  1. Texture

The texture is also really important when it comes to taking photographs.

Have you ever been to a photography exhibit and wanted to touch one of the photographs? That’s because the photographer knew how to perfectly capture the texture in order to create a good photograph.

When you have texture in a photograph, it makes the reader feel like it’s something tangible. Like it’s right there in front of them even though they’re just looking at a picture of it.

Taking a photograph of the texture of someone’s skin or even a soft pillow can create emotions in the viewer. You want them to be able to feel the texture even if they can’t reach out and touch it. If you have texture incorporated into your photos, it will make the photos come to life and feel almost three-dimensional.


  1. Composition

The composition is also really important, and it goes hand-in-hand with lighting sometimes.

If you’re a new photographer, focusing on the lighting and composition are probably the two big pieces of advice people will give to you. There are different rules of composition, which is basically just how you compose the shot for your photograph.

Most people just point and shoot when they take a photo on their phone. But when you’re a photographer, you need to look through the lens viewer and think about how you want all of it to look. You need to frame the shot and do it in a way that is appealing. You need to find a way to make it seem like it will come to life.

There are different things that go into the composition of a photo, like the lighting, lines, the rule of thirds, shadows, and many more.


  1. The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is something that goes into the composition of your photo, but it’s incredibly important.

Basically, this technique comes into play when you divide your image into thirds vertically and horizontally. That way you have nine grids that can help you guide your photo composition.

Find more answers to the question, “What is the Rule of Thirds in Photography?


  1. Colors

Colors are also incredibly important when you’re shooting a photograph (unless you’re shooting in black and white). But even with black and white, you can still play with the shadows and the lighting.

While you’re always able to manipulate the color in photo editing software, you need to try and capture them naturally when you shoot them. Different colors will set different moods and different emotions for people.

There are generally warm colors and cool colors. Warm colors will convey happiness and energy, and these colors are normally orange, yellow, and red.

Cool colors are normally more negative emotions, like coldness or sadness. If you want to convey this emotion, you’ll want to shoot something with blue, gray, or green colors.


Discover More of the Basic Elements of Photography

These are only a few of the basic elements of photography, but there are many more things to learn.

If you’re really interested in becoming a serious photographer, try and find local photography classes that will help teach you all of these things in depth.

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