The Importance of Framing : Extreme Digital Photography
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The Importance of Framing

by Kathy Bonham on 10/13/13

The Importance of Framing October 14, 2013
    Nearly all, if not all, digital cameras will do everything for you. Some will not allow you to do anything manually. No matter what kind of digital camera you have, the first key is framing. This is not as easy as it sounds. If you can only frame your photo on a screen, you must become very familiar with the boundaries of that screen. Does it reliably show what will be on the photo? If not, figure out how to compensate for the difference. Framing is just like putting a picture frame around a painting or photograph. You wouldn’t put a frame on that cut off the head or feet of the people in the photo. You may decide to move the photo around in the frame until you have everything in it you want and everything you don’t want out. You may also do this with scissors. It is the same idea in framing your photograph to be. Do you want feet in the photo? Let’s say if you’re photographing a horse (hoofs) or a dog (paws) you probably want to see the feet? You most likely want everyone’s head in the frame and the photo lined up straight. You certainly want the horse’s and dog’s heads in the picture. What about the tails. Learn to see through your screen or viewfinder. Viewfinders, if they are not SLRs (single lens reflex) will not give you and exact idea of distance and may not be completely accurate in terms of what you think you have in the frame. Become familiar with these deviations and learn to compensate. Learn to see your entire picture in your head and then frame it with the camera. Be cognizant of the sides, foreground and background. How much do you want in the photo? Get over the idea of just looking at you subject. Pay attention to what superfluous detritus is in the frame. Will your subject appear to be wearing a lampshade or will your subject seem to have an electric cord coming out of his body? If you don’t become aware of these things you will probably have a confused background. Pay attention to shadows. Shadows change the light and if part of your subject is in a shadow then you will probably have part of the subject in bright white or deep black. Get used to seeing everything in the frame. This one thing the digital camera can’t do for you and it is critical. If your picture is crooked you might be able to straighten it in Photoshop. If your photo of a sunset over the ocean has the horizon crooked, that will be very hard to fix. With SLR’s, the viewfinder looks directly through the lens. What you see is what you will get in terms of framing but all the same rules apply for obtaining THE photograph you want. None of this matters if you are just taking snapshots and don’t care about the aesthetic quality of the picture.

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