Hawkesbury Camera Club’s Graham Hodgkins shares his tips about how to properly frame a photo.
You may not realize it, but every time you bring your camera up to your eye you're making decisions about composition. Simply put, “composition” is how you choose to structure the picture you're about to take.
In photography the role of composition is to draw the eye into the photograph. Finding a good composition is one of the most challenging aspects of photography.
Over the years a number of guidelines have been developed to help photographers with composition – such guidelines include the rule of thirds, the golden ratio and the use leading lines. These guidelines are designed to make photographs more compelling, giving them a natural balance, drawing attention to the important parts of the scene, or leading the viewer's eye through the image.
Another of these guidelines is framing. For those of you that are new to photography, a frame is an object placed within your photograph that “frames” the main subject. Think of a picture frame. We use a picture frame to accentuate the picture or painting within it. A frame in composition works the same way. In landscape photography, a frame could typically be a tree, tree limbs, rocks, a fence, or a building.
Composing a photo with a frame is a great way to direct the viewer's eye to your subject and add depth and dimension to an image.
Here are a few ideas to try when adding a frame:
Frames are typically in the foreground and lead the viewer's eye to the main subject that is behind it. However, a frame may also be a shadow or shape on the wall behind your subject.
Decide if you want your frame to cover all sides of the photo or come in from just one or two sides.
Determine if you want your frame to be in sharp focus or soft and blurry. Both can be effective in different circumstances. Use “f/stops” to control the depth of field and achieve the desired effect.
Give your frame a distinct shape and make sure it looks like you intentionally placed it there. It should be easy to visually separate the frame from the rest of the photograph.
Avoid cluttering the photo. The intention is to make the frame stand out without becoming a distraction from the main subject.
Next time you’re out taking pictures, look for frames or bring your own objects to shoot through. With practice, you’ll notice framing elements quickly and improve the composition of your photos.
Hawkesbury Council sponsors the We Are Hawkesbury: 25 Places Photographic Competition.