Framing Your Photograph

February 5, 2010

Before you start your photography session take a few moments and observe the setting you are going to be shooting in. Check out the background: are there dark things in light places or light things in dark places? Squint while looking at the background to elimnate distracting light or dark spots.

Be particularly mindful of light or dark spots immediately behind your subject as these may draw the viewers eyes away from your subject. Check the 4 corners of your viewfinder before you snap a photo to make sure there is nothing in the frame that detracts from your subject. If you find something is distracting your eye, try moving to one side or the other for a different angle.

Negative Space

Negative space is that space which surrounds your subject, and the use of negative space makes use of simplicity, and can also enhance the story you are telling. Negative space is kind of like a blank wall with a picture hanging on it; there is nothing to detract the viewers eyes from the subject.

You can crop your images in a program like Adobe PhotoShop once you have taken your photograph, but it is much better to crop the picture with the camera before you take the picture. Look carefully through the lens and try to create a pleasing composition, while all the time looking for hot or dark spots.

Photographing Children

Always move your camera to the child’s eye level. This will eliminate lens distortion and when you photograph a child from above it will make their head appear larger than it really is. This is known as the big head little feet syndrome.

Never, I repeat never, crop of the hands or feet of the child when photographing them. Either crop in close to the head and shoulders or move back to include the whole body of the child. If you don’t you may wind up with an akward looking photograph.

Don’t Place Your Subject In The Center Of The Photograph

Generally speaking you will not want to place your subject in the dead center of the image, but rather apply the rule of thirds to decide where to place your subject. Leave plenty of room around the child, called growing room, as it is comforting to create a feeling of space.

Once again, be absolutely certain to make sure there is nothing distracting in the background that will draw the viewers eyes away from the subject. If you are shooting a side shot of the child, leave more space in front of them than behind them to give the appearance of some space for them to look into. The same applies if they are walking or running.

Using Frames To Frame Subjects In Photography

Using Frames To Frame Subjects In Photography

Use Frames To Frame

By this I mean look around and see if there is a doorway, a curving tree branch or some other object that you can use to frame the image of the child. Archways, walls and doors tend to add strength to a portrait, and helps the viewer understand scale.

Soft, circular vignettes can give your photograph a sense of comfort and safety, while a bold, rugged rectangle can add strength to the photograph. Making these decisions carefully will leave no doubt as to what you are trying to say.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

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