Munish Khanna Fashion Photography | online photography course/elements

Essential elements of Photography


The visual appearance of a photograph depends on the elements it is composed of, which may be present in one form or the other, one way or the other. The key elements being Shape, form, tone, texture and pattern. It is not essential that all of these have to be present in a photograph. 

It depends on the photograph as to how he or she wants to convey what they are visualizing or perceiving in a particular photograph. In a scene having more than one elements, one photographer may look at one element more than the other. In other words one element may be more appealing to the photographers eye compared to the other. This is what makes our photographs unique. One may find the texture of the subject mare attractive whereas other may find its shape more revealing. Some may be able to successfully convey both texture and shape besides its tone and form.

It does not mean that a photograph having more than one elements is a better visual representation of a scene. Certain images may just be high lighting just the tone or the shape, yet appear very attractive and creative.

Some people have a better eye than the others and can previsualize the potential of a subject or a scene. They are able to look at the mood the situation conveys or the story behind the subject. They look at the situation with that perspective and approach the situation in way so as to represent it in the best possible way, it shows its characteristic or at least what the photographer feels is the characteristic of the subject or the situation.


Shape defines the outline of the subject.


Tone is the variation between the light and the dark that is necessary to show the edges of an image, to reveal the depth in a three dimensional subject and to show the kind of the subjects surface.


Its the Form that helps us look at a ball as a sphere rather than  just a disc. Its the form because of which we are able to differentiate between three and two dimensional subjects.


Texture provides the sense of physically feeling the subject and understand the tactile quality of the subjects surface.


Pattern is the repetition of one or more of the elements in a frame. This could also be a repetition of the subject or a part of.