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Framing Your Photos

Friday, June 29th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography
 
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Framing Your Photos

Photography is as much about framing as it is about the camera lens you use. Therefore, here are a few simple tips you can use to really get some excellent pictures.

Here is how you do it:

1.) Make Sure You Don’t Chop Anyone

Most times, when we are in a hurry or not paying enough attention, we chop off the subject’s legs, arms, hair and so on. It’s important that we get all of the subject in the frame. If you’re using a film roll, it’s especially important that you leave space on all sides of the frame, because those usually get chopped during the post-processing procedure.

2.) Look for Symmetry

Sometimes, you purposely want to chop off one eye. And that’s fine, as long as you are following a symmetrical line. Make sure the space you leave on all sides of the eye is the same. It’s a sense of symmetry that will make your photograph seem like it’s intended and not a mistake.

3.) Think Before You Click

Most times, what every photograph needs is just a little bit of patience and time. This also involves some thinking on your part. So, every time you take a picture, wait a minute. Assess your subject, the background, the foreground and only then, take the picture. If need be, check the photo you’ve taken on your LCD screen and be ready to retake the picture if it’s not framed properly. It’s this patience that will go a long way in framing your pictures appropriately.

4.) Remove Distracting Elements

Look for both natural peripheral (side) borders that might frame your shot nicely and for objects near the sides of your shot that might be distracting. Think of it like this: While fitting the full trunk of a tree into your border might look great, including the public trash can in your shot of a cathedral probably won’t.

5.) Balance Foreground and Background

Try to ensure that you are getting just the right amount of foreground and background. There is no hard and fast rule for specific amounts, as they will change according to what kind of photo you are taking. But here are some general guidelines: The horizon should usually be above the middle of the photo. In people shots, the foreground should be minimized, while in landscape shots, more foreground can lend better perspective. Likewise, don’t allow too much additional space on either side of your subjects in people shots.

6.) Use the Crop Tool

If you’ve already taken badly framed pictures and are looking for a solution, there is one. Use the crop tool in Photoshop (or whichever photo editing program you use). It is easy enough to crop away unwanted areas after the fact and thereby, make them look like they were well composed in the first place. However, unless you have a high-megapixel camera and have remembered to shoot at high resolution, cropping can put severe limitations on the size at which your photos can be presented on screen or in print, without looking jaggy. If you don’t intend to run full-screen slide shows for your friends and family or print out any enlargements, the limitations of cropping won’t worry you. But, if you’d like to retain as much flexibility in your images as possible and avoid having to bother with cropping, remember to follow the above mentioned rules before taking any more pictures.

If you follow these easy instructions, your photos will have never looked better!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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