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In the world of photography, framing refers to the technique of using different elements within the photo to create a border around the subject of the photo. There are endless ways to create a wonderful framing for a photo, and the way in which you do this can determine the overall appeal of the picture.
Going for an artsy photo? Well, this is where framing can come into place to help you create more depth, space, interesting borders, and color schemes. Think of framing as creating a picture within another picture, that’s really all it is.
You can use anything to frame your photo, and the more creative you are during the framing process, the more you’re able to enhance it. Let’s look at some of the best ways to do this.
It will be difficult to see the main subject if there are too many items in one shot. Consider only adding one item to a shot. This will allow you to focus on the most important subjects. You can add more elements to your post-processing.
Consider the shot as a whole. Look for the right shot by looking at all elements in the frame. For a new perspective, you can increase the shutter speed to freeze motion. Cohesion is important in photography, so make sure the frame works with both the subject and the background.
Get close enough to get into the details of your subject. Way too often, amateurs are too far away from their subject and don’t get enough close. You can control the depth of field manually by putting your camera closer to your subject and not zooming. This will give you a more captivating and confident shot.
Don’t be afraid to add a bit of chaos to the photo. Look for patterns, look for things that are standing out in the background. The human eye is attracted to patterns in a chaotic world. Try to locate them and highlight them, bringing them into the frame.
This approach can be applicable to landscape photography as well as abstract and portrait photography. Find ways to draw attention to a unique aspect.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a little mystery in your photos. It leaves viewers wanting more, and it helps to eliminate clutter. you don’t have to show all elements in a photograph. Depending on the subject, it may be best to only show the highlights of the subject and nerdy surrounding elements.
You can also reduce the size of your photos and make the frame tight to achieve a more subtle look. Sometimes new photographers try to create these super-complicated shots. Complication really isn’t needed. A great photo can be simple in nature. You don’t need a new camera to capture simplicity.
The best work is not always the first when it comes to photography. Try different angles, lengths, and techniques. Always aim to take at least 5 different approaches when taking a photo. You’re likely to come up with something better than your first attempt.
You can experiment with different lighting elements to give your subject, foreground, and background more dimension–which can enhance the frame. Consider bigger, wider lenses, as well as small accent lights on the edges of your subject.
Many cameras now have a framing overlay feature that allows you to place different grids on top of your image preview. This makes it easy to align your frame. You can switch between splitting your image into thirds or quarters, depending on the scene. It’s definitely worth it!
Sometimes the more natural approach is best and can be very effective in framing. Natural framing is simply using real elements from your photos to frame the subject.
You can add meaning and impact to photos by matching the framing with the emotion. Intimate portrait? Intimacy will be enhanced by a tighter frame. Feel alive and free. It will likely fit better in a wide frame.
Backlights instantly create a halo around your subject. You can also use light to frame them in your photograph. You can buy a backlight for about $15 on Amazon or at Target to consider adding it in the background off to the side for the additional enhancement.
Make it really small–at least initially. A thumbnail of your photo can help you assess the strength of your composition and determine if your framing is distracting or effective. The small size of a thumbnail helps you get a grasp of what actually stands out in the photo.
Sometimes these elements will pop out, sometimes not. So, always be on the lookout to find interesting geometry and features that can be used as natural frames and leading lines. Your viewers will be drawn to your unique and unusual work if it is more interesting than without them.
Flat lay photography and food photography both require that you fill all edges. Filling in the edges gives the composition a more complete feel. Try filling up the frame with all objects that stand out. See if this changes the overall feel of the image.
A common mistake that beginning photographers make when framing a photo is not clearly defining their subject. So don’t just frame a photo of leaves or plants. Instead, focus on framing the specifics of a certain leaf or branch of a plant.
It’s usually better to stick to the main focus of the photo. Great photographers pay attention to every detail in a photograph, just as great interior designers are meticulous about every aspect of an interior room or space. Include only elements that add value to the composition as a whole.
Different features will be highlighted by tilting your camera. A camera that is low and tilted upward will capture large open areas (such as a tree or the sky). A perspective can be captured if the camera is angled down or higher. Your framing angle should match the mood of your photo.
A common technique for photograph composition is to try to make circles and triangles using your framing, your posing, and your lighting. Find the shapes within your photos or create them within the frame using natural elements.
Don’t be afraid to get in the photo yourself. Include your hands, arms, and feet in the photo to give it a “through my eyes” appeal. This tends to work especially well for black and white photos.
Use colors in your framing. Amazing photographers are distinguished by mastering the art of color and tone matching. Learn more about photo framing with colors by reading up on monochromatic and complementary color schemes.
Your eyes will be drawn to the most brightly colored parts of an image. It is easy to frame a photograph with a dark background. Or try using a black background and making the subject appear darker with lighting and different angles.
Photographing high cliffs, buildings, and mountains can often be very difficult without a person or an object nearby to help give you a sense of scale. Try to create interesting aspects by playing with scales, moving closer to the subject, and using your zoom.
One common newbie photography error is forgetting to pay attention to the background. Unimpressive photos are made with distracting backgrounds. Avoid distracting and busy backgrounds. This will make your framing more effective.
Headroom refers to the space between your subject’s head and the top of the frame. Although you want your subject to appear bigger, too much headroom can cause them to appear much smaller or give a weird visual element. Be sure there is enough space at the top of the frame, but not so much where it looks off.
You should always leave some space between your subject and the direction in which they’re actually looking. Always try to aim for a little more space on the side that they’re looking at or moving towards than the side that they are looking away from.
The best way to capture magnificent photos is to try different methods of framing them. Remember there will never be one single way to frame any composition. Every picture is going to be different, and there are tons of different visual elements that you have at your disposal.
Remember, the framing will also depend on the context of the image. For example, some images work better with a tighter frame, while others will be more defined with a wider background context.
Go for what works, and don’t be afraid to step out of the box and use natural lines, zooming, and off-center framing to make your photo stand out.
Featured Image Credit: sergey causelove, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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