Take On Photos: Part 1, Framing

(I’m going to put up a series of posts about the artistic aspects of how I take photos. This is not meant to be a definitive work and certainly not the ‘last word’ on creating images, just my point of view. As usual.)

I was going to title this “Framing and Composition”, but even though the two are intertwined they are somewhat separate things. Composition is the more all-encompassing, so Framing could be considered a subset of it. But as the song says “you can’t have one without the other”.

I think of the two like this: Framing is what is in the picture, Composition is how it is in the picture.

So like a bad stereotype of a movie director, we first have to consider the framing. And framing includes not only the initial image aspect but any changes made to it post-shoot with cropping. We are fortunate that digital photography easily frees us from the trap of fixed aspect ratios and standardized formats first inflicted on photography by the wet plate process. If you’re still stuck in the “8×10” mindset, you need to get away from that.

(Apologies that the photos are rather dull and I did not put much effort into the technical aspect as that isn’t important to demonstrate the principals discussed. They are in monochrome to avoid the distraction that colour sometimes causes.)

Very strange picture of a toy truck and some chess pieces.

That images doesn’t make much sense, does it? Or if it does it’s on some level of consciousness (or perhaps unconsciousness) I have yet to achieve. No matter. Through the power of cropping we can change what it looks like.

Voilà! It’s a picture of a toy truck.

This makes more sense, or at least is less incongruous than the original. The unnecessary and distracting chess pieces are gone and we can concentrate on the intended subject. We know it is the intended subject now because it’s the only recognizable item in the frame. Framing!

If we go the other way …

Unless this part of the original was the intended subject, in which case different framing achieves the desired result. (Notice how the knight and rook are a bit fuzzier for being just a little bit further forward? Not much depth of field in extreme close-up shots!)

If you really want to concentrate on the truck …

Squared format, fill the frame (even though the subject is basically rectangular).

This all seems ridiculously basic, doesn’t it? Well along the way here I’ve given some hints of things to come. One final clue for next time:

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your photography!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s