Elements of Art

One way to help us with critique is to understand some of the vocab in the art world. Below is a list of the 7 elements of art. These 7 elements are universal in all types of art, including photography. I have included some examples of how each element can be represented in photography.


“A dot on a walk” – Paul Klee

Lines are a hug part of art. There are many line characteristics, but a couple powerful and common lines in photography are: leading lines and implied lines. Leading Lines help pull your viewers eye into the artwork (left). Implied Lines suggest the existence of a line (right).





“A line where the two ends meet.” 

There are two types of shape. Geometric is most commonly find in math like circles, triangles, star, diamond etc. Organic shapes are more fluid and we can’t really name them.



The lightness or darkness of an object. You can see the value change in the egg below from light to dark.


There are two types of texture, one that is actually there and we can feel it called Tactile Texture. Then, there are drawings or photographs of the actual texture. It may look like the texture, but if you were to reach out and touch it, you would feel paper. This is called visual texture.


There is both Positive and Negative space. Positive space is your subject in the frame, negative space is the blank background or canvas behind the object you added.

Untitled-1 copy

You will see negative space used a lot in logos, to create another object within the negative space:



There is a lot to be said about color! We will focus on that another day.


An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume; includes height, width AND depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing.


Last week I asked you to photograph circles. The assignment forced you to focus on geometric shape, an element of art. I would like for you to leave a basic critique on 2-3 of the photographs below. Please follow this guide (do not include the numbers):

  1.  Begin by telling the artist if you enjoy their piece, as we talked about last week. (optional)
  2. State what other element of art besides geometric circles is noticeable, to you, in their piece.
  3. State what works (overall) in their piece.
  4. State what you feel does not work (overall) in their piece (do not start by saying “I wouldn’t” or “If I had done this”, because in actuality you might not have. Also, by starting out your sentence that way, it subtly hints that you believe to be a better photographer than them. Try staying “I don’t feel ____ works” or “Perhaps if you had _____”. This is a way to create a more positive critique).