How Is Geometry Used in Photography? 10 Tips to Try

March 20, 2023 by

Have you ever wondered how geometry can enhance your photography skills and take your photos to the next level?

Geometry plays a vital role in photography, from framing your subjects to creating depth and perspective in your images. By incorporating geometric shapes, lines, and patterns in your photos, you can create eye-catching and visually appealing compositions.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced photographer, mastering the use of geometry can make a significant difference in the quality of your photos.

This is a helpful guide covering how geometry is used in photography.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

Table of Contents

What is Geometric Photography?

Geometric photography can be defined as a type of photography that emphasizes capturing unique shapes, lines, and other forms to create a particular perspective within the photo.

They are not always about houses or architecture, although geometric photography ideas can also come from buildings.

Knowing how to use geometric shapes and implementing them in your photos can make you either specialize or even widen your skill as a photographer.

Geometric photography can also be found in a particular genre of photography, such as:

1. Architectural Photography

Maybe you spot geometric photography ideas by looking at the shapes and unique flows of concrete upon buildings that could make a particular shape from a specific perspective; that combination could count as geometric photography

architectural photography
architectural photo

2. Abstract Expressionism & Minimalism

Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock-like to make abstract works that mean something within a particular context.

Photography can also highlight certain emotions and feelings from shapes and lines or patterns.

shape photography
shapes and lines

3. Fashion Photography

Geometric photography ideas can be found in fashion from high-end fashion designs.

Fashion designers want photographers who understand what to focus on.

Geometric photography here is about emphasizing patterns, the right posture, composition, etc.

fashion photography
fashion photo

How is Shape Used in Photography?

So how is shape being used within geometric photography or any of geometric photography ideas?

Geometry formation is one of the photography techniques used to produce suitable good, dynamic photo compositions.

Shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, and others can be used as benchmarks in taking a photo.

Different shapes can give the resulting photo a different feel.

The photo can also give the impression of symmetry, rhythm, and vocal points to make people who see the photo feel more easily connected to the photo by referring to geometric shapes.

Further implementation, you can use geometric shapes as a benchmark in arranging several objects in your photos so that your photos will look more dynamic and organized.

Suppose you have to photograph three people at once in one photo.

If you set all three of them to stand the same height, you will get a stiff and unsightly photo.

If you arrange them to form a triangle, then your overall photo will look more dynamic, balanced, and engaging.

group photo triangle
form a triangle

Why Incorporate Geometry in Photography?

Okay, how is geometry used in photography? And why?

This is actually related to positioning and composition.

According to several studies, our eyes and minds are bound to be more attracted to more symmetrical things.

The left and right sides of humans are not 100% the same. But some people have faced with almost the same left and right sides.

They are considered beautiful and more attractive to the opposite sex.

Because symmetry shows good genetics, especially in terms of reproductive health.

Thus, we need to package geometric photography within compositions to give a sense of order within the most unnatural or uninteresting side of our subjects.

10 Tips to Incorporate Geometry in Your Photography

1. The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most basic photo compositions and must be known by photographers.

In the rule of thirds, the photographer simply divides the area of the photo into nine equal squares and puts the POI (point of interest) on the point or line on the plane that is divided into 3 x 3.

There are four interesting points (IP), while Interesting Lines consist of 2 horizontal and vertical lines.

The principle of ROT is by placing the POI on the point or line.

The photo will look more attractive than any other point/line.

The Point of Interest placed on the four points or lines above can be an object or part of the photo object’s eye.

rule of thirds
rule of thirds

Today, many digital cameras have the rules of thirds (grid) feature, either on the live view mode screen or in the viewfinder.

Our suggestion for the field division between positive and negative using a ratio of 50: 50 or 30: 50, depending on taste.

To further explore the rule of thirds, we recommend checking out our guide on the rule of thirds and also checking out this video by Julian Discovers:

2. Golden Shape

Golden Shape, also referred to as the Golden Ratio is a Geometric photography composition by dividing the area of the photo, either edged with real lines or virtual edges, into positive-negative.

golden spiral rectangle
golden ratio

It appears as if there is a contrast between the two fields so that it forms a harmonious unity.

The principle of the Golden Shape is by dividing the positive-negative areas properly.

In a balanced way, the photo will look well-composed.

golden spiral photography
golden spiral/ratio

To further explore the golden ratio/shape, we recommend checking out our guide on the golden ratio and also checking out this video by Reg Does Stuff:

3. Symmetrical

This photo composition places the object and divides the photo area equally right and left to look remarkably symmetrical.

symmetrical photography
symmetrical lines

4. Pattern and Repetition

Instinctively, humans are instinctively interested in patterns or patterns that are harmonious.

Therefore, a photo with a patterned or looped composition can make a great photo work.

Pattern (pattern) and repetition (repetition) can be obtained by selecting the right photo angle and choosing the distance between the lens and the object in such a way.

5. Frame within a Frame

With the frame-in-frame technique, we create a geometric photography composition by directing or guiding the eye to pay attention to what is inside a “frame” by ignoring what is outside the “frame”.

The frame here is not a photo frame in physical form, but you are looking for an object that can be used as a “frame” either in the form of real or virtual lines.

Look for elements such as windows, doors, corridors, mirrors, building pillars, arches, or any object that is generally a closed geometric shape to frame the POI.

girl framed between trees photograph
frame within a frame

The frame also does not have to surround the entire POI.

To further explore the technique of a frame within a frame, we recommend this video by FotoCollab:

6. Leading Lines

Another alternate answer to how geometry is used in photography is through leading lines.

One of the most exciting photo compositions in my opinion is Leading Lines.

Lines or lines can be virtual or real. They lead our eyes to the object that becomes the POI, or the line itself becomes the POI in the photo.

leading lines
leading lines

Look for objects such as roads, walls, bridges, or anything that can form a virtual queue and direct the eye to the actual item (POI).

To further explore how to use leading lines, we recommend this video by J.M. Wilyat:

7. Negative Space Composition

Negative Space Composition is a creative composition that leaves a lot of space or negative space in the photo.

The area here can be a sky, a vast expanse of desert, a meadow, or anything that can give a “free space” to a photo.

By providing the right blank space, your photos can look very interesting and creative.

8. Reflection

Reflection on a photo can be the main element (point of interest) or explored only as a compliment.

If photo reflection is the main element, it must provide a photo that tells a story even though it is only a reflection.

Reflection is usually familiar to photographers who like abstract beauty or minimalism with the composition of reflection as the main POI.

Objects that can be used for reflection can be various, for example, puddles, calm lakes, unplanted rice fields, rivers, windows, mirrors, mirrors, and even glasses and others.

Meanwhile, the objects that can be used are objects, living things, humans, and others.

reflection in photography

9. Capturing Texture

The texture is a photo composition that displays the texture of the object being photographed.

With the presence of texture, the details of objects will be more visible, especially if it is aided by good lighting.

Examples of objects commonly used for texture compositions are rocks, asphalt, bone streaks on leaves, wood, skin, eyes, cloth, and many more.

The technique used is simple to get the texture, and photograph the object at close range using a telephoto lens or 50mm and above.

texture in photography

10. Depth of Field

Composition isolating objects by making the background blurry is usually used to photograph humans or portrayals or any item aiming to make photo audiences only focus on the highlighted object.

business headshot 1
depth of field blur

Final Remarks

Those are ten alternative answers and techniques on how geometry is used in photography that you can apply to make your photos more creative and interesting.

Photographic composition – like composition in any art field – is like a taste for food.

It all comes down to one’s own preference. So, there are no standard rules in composition techniques in the field of photography.

Even Steve McCurry said, to get something creative, the existing rules must be broken.

Please be creative so that your photos look not careless, but have studied the theory of composition techniques in photography. And if you want to learn more about being creative in photography, we have a guide on that.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common shapes in photographs?

There are several common shapes that can be found in photographs, including triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles. These shapes can add visual interest and help to create a sense of balance and harmony in the composition.

Does geometry need to exist in every photo?

No, geometry does not need to exist in every photo. While incorporating geometry in your photography can help create visual interest and a sense of balance, it is not a requirement for every photo and should be used thoughtfully and intentionally to enhance the composition.