Skip to content

Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: #19 Geometry in Photography

This Compose Yourself Photo Challenge (CCY) Theme is #19 Geometry in Photography and will be open through April 12th, 2016.

5-gold-starsFor your assignment I would like to see at least 4-6 photos showing various geometric shapes within your photos and describe the various shapes.  Please describe what you learned in this lesson as well.

Note:  I picked out some of my favorite photos that I have taken over the years.  Then Chris and I both went through them together to find geometric shapes.  So if you would like help with your shapes, please feel free to contact me at any time I will gladly help you out.  Click here to contact me.

Each week I will select several features from everyone who submits an entry.  And from those posts that I feature, I will grant one blogger the Gold Star Award.  To find out who was awarded the Gold Star Award and Features for this week, please see CCY Features Week #18 Contrasting Colors.

Note:  Participants who do not have at least 6 photos showing their attempt at this week’s topic in their post will not be featured nor be considered for the Gold Star Award.


We’ve been talking about a lot of different aspects of photographic composition.  Today’s session will cover an advanced technique designed to help you improve your eye for composition.

We’ve talked about how objects are arranged in the frame.  Let’s take things a step further and see how the geometry of your layouts affect your end photograph.  How do the larger elements group themselves in a good photograph?  This is easiest to understand by looking at examples.

Our minds are geared to recognize shapes, wired that way at the deepest level.  When we can recognize shapes and see them balanced on the page, we feel good about the image, even if this happens at such a deep subconscious level that we aren’t aware of the analysis going on internally.

Both of these pictures contain lots of familiar geometric shapes:  circles, triangles, rectangles and squares, along with prominent straight lines.  Easy to see and recognize, right? (click on any image to enlarge)

Mother Nature is the expert at using geometry, as this shot of the underside of a water lily pad shows us.

00 Geometric Challenge03

And this picture of a church has obvious geometry.

00 Geometric Challenge07

But what about this picture? Do you see how the man makes a wonderful triangle?

00 Geometric Challenge12

Let’s try another one.  This cargo ship is piled full of lots and lots of rectangles, but can you find the triangles in the shot? (click on any image to enlarge)

I love this shot of a horsewoman and a wrangler having a private moment together.  Your mind reads the emotion of the scene, but what else is your brain recording?  Do you see how the two triangles of the hats and the rectangles of the faces mirror and balance each other? (click on any image to enlarge)

Here’s an easy one, my cat Freddie and a daffodil.  (click on any image to enlarge)

This is a foggy day on the Old Columbia Highway.  Notice the wall and how the peaked rails mimic the pyramid tops of the posts?  Look at the straight lines of the wall on the left, the road markings and the wall on the right.  See how all of those lines converge in the one bright spot at the top of the page where there aren’t any trees?  Your brain is seeing all of that, even if your mind isn’t telling you about it.  (click on any image to enlarge)

Let’s add a little more complexity.  Here’s a shot of two grannies texting.  I’ve marked in green the rectangles of the phones, and in blue where the rectangle formed by the woman’s glasses and the lines of her face mimic the hands in the lower left.  Finally, notice in red the two white boxes broken up by the vertical black rectangle of the street lamp.   (click on any image to enlarge)

Are you getting this?  Having fun with it?  Here’s another example.  The red boxes show where we have a dark rectangle beside a light one.  The blue boxes show a dark rectangle on top with a lighter one on the bottom, while the green boxes reverse that, with light on top and dark on the bottom.  (click on any image to enlarge)

Just two more examples and then I’ll turn you loose to look at some of your own favorite pictures.  The first set of pictures shows three green rectangles spacing out each other quite harmoniously, all tied together by the white fiber being spun onto the bobbin, represented by the red arrow that ends in the blurry, spinning bobbin. (click on any image to enlarge)

Finally, let’s take a look at a worker bringing in bunches of dahlias from the field.  The first thing you probably saw is that big circle of colorful dahlias, but look at the echoing circle of the man’s arm coming up to his head.  Look at the straight, parallel lines of the stems.  This picture has plenty of rectangles, too.  We see the three rows of flowers in the fields, and also the dark and light boxes at the top of the picture. (click on any image to enlarge)

Upcoming Challenges

  • #20 Review (starts 2nd Wednesday of April)
  • #21 Balance (starts 4th Wednesday of April)
  • #22 Guide the Viewer (starts 2nd Wednesday of May)
  • #23 Brightest Spot (starts 4th Wednesday of May)

Qi (energy) hugs


42 replies »

  1. This is very informative. Your colored markings illustrate well how negative spaces can actually be geometric shapes also. Thanks for all the time you and Chris put into this post!


  2. Ooh like this challenge. ….can’t wait to have a go. Thanks for all the tips, as Marilyn says the coloured markings really help, they’ve also inspired me to look wider than I might have prior to reading the full post. Thanks


  3. There is geometry in almost everything, though I think architecture and other visuals containing definite lines are the easiest to see and understand examples. Nature supplies us with a lot of geometry, too. Mountains and trees … and the geometrical designs of flowers and other plants (lately I’ve become quite a fan of cacti). I think I can promise something nice for this challenge. Thanks Cee, for your wonderful, gracious hosting.


    • I brought the photo into a software that allowed me to draw shapes on them. For this challenge you can just describe in words where the shape is too.


  4. This is another aspect of photography I haven’t thought about. Thank you for putting this together. It gives me much to think about!


  5. I really enjoyed your essay (lesson) in really seeing the invisible geometric shapes in photos and how they interact. Wonderful post, Cee. 🙂


Pick Me Up

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 11,880 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 2,103,145 hits

CFFC – Tuesday

CFFC challenge runs weekly on Tuesday.

CMMC – Wednesdays

CBWC – Thursdays

CB&W challenge runs weekly on Thursdays.

FOTD – Daily

A Listing of Challenges


Copyright notice © Cee Neuner (aka Christine R Neuner) and blog.  All content of this website is the sole property of Cee Neuner. Please contact the owner for use of any image or text from this website.

%d bloggers like this: