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How Shapes Influence Photographic Storytelling

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Understanding the influence of shapes is a crucial aspect often overlooked by many practitioners in the field. Shapes are not just basic elements of design; they’re powerful tools that can evoke emotions and tell stories, making their study essential for photographers aiming to enhance their visual storytelling.

Coming to you from Mango Street, this insightful video sheds light on an often-neglected topic in photography: the importance of shapes. The video discusses how shapes, from circles to squares, can significantly impact the mood and message of an image. For instance, circles are associated with wholeness and unity, offering a sense of serenity and calmness, while triangles, being stable structures, symbolize strength and solidity. Squares, on the other hand, can evoke feelings of conformity, uniformity, and containment. This exploration into the psychological effects of shapes on viewers adds a new layer to the composition that you can use to their advantage, pushing beyond the traditional focus on lighting, color, and composition alone.

The video further demonstrates these concepts through practical applications, showcasing how different shapes can be incorporated into photography to achieve desired effects by using models and various props to illustrate how even simple adjustments in the positioning of subjects or the inclusion of certain geometric shapes in the frame can dramatically alter the perception of an image. The emphasis on experimentation and creativity serves as a reminder that understanding the fundamentals of design can also improve images. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

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