Behind the Lens: Creative framing

Moving back a couple feet and incorporating a low hanging tree branch, adds some visual interest to a Memorial Stadium photograph and directs the viewer into the image.

Moving back a couple feet and incorporating a low hanging tree branch, adds some visual interest to a Memorial Stadium photograph and directs the viewer into the image.

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A wide-angle image of KU's football stadium from the Campanile hill leaves a lot of sky in the frame.

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Moving back a couple feet and incorporating a low hanging tree branch, adds some visual interest to a Memorial Stadium photograph and directs the viewer into the image.

Summer’s here, which means it’s a good time to brush up on a few photography skills to help make the most your vacation scenes. Regardless of the camera you use, there are always ways to improve your photography. One of the simplest is the creative technique of using foreground elements to fill empty space, frame or direct attention toward a subject.

When you look through your camera’s optical viewfinder, or consider an image on your camera’s monitor, you are taking the first step toward framing a scene. Your view will be defined by where you point your lens and the properties and perspective of the lens chosen. This works well for a majority of photographs but can lead to flat, boring images for some subjects. To add depth to your shots consider using nearby objects or devices to further frame a subject. I call this internal framing.

To make this work, you first need to locate suitable devices or objects nearby to incorporate into your frame. You will be surprised at what you can use to lend creative composition to your photographs. Some common things I often use are trees, buildings and even people.

Let’s imagine you’re standing on a beach, beneath a palm tree, photographing the cruise ship you are about to board. (OK, so it’s a BIG imagination.) Framing only on the boat will result in a one-dimensional image with water, boat and a lot of empty sky. It’ll look flat and boring. Instead, back up and incorporate the tall trunk and draping foliage of the palm tree as a foreground framing element. This will provide a feeling of depth, fill up some empty space and help guide a viewers eye toward the intended subject.

Here are some tips.

l When re-framing a subject to include framing objects, your focus and exposure metering should remain on the subject.

l It will be your creative choice on where to locate framing objects in your scene. It works best to have objects that surround, lead to or angle toward the subject. Interior framing objects should not block or disrupt the view of the main subject of the photo.

l Both wide-angle lenses and telephoto lenses can be used, although it is easier to work with wide-angles because they provide greater perspective to incorporate nearby framing devices.

Go online to this column to see examples of some KU landmarks with and without framing devices.

— Chief Photographer Mike Yoder can be reached at 832-7141.

Comments

JMG 9 years, 10 months ago

Mike -

I think that is a great shot and a great lesson on framing...it can add so much go a shot that would otherwise be so mundane.

Another tip: try rotating the image just a couple of degrees clockwise...the lack of level is disruptive when one looks at the stadium itself...but having it level out would be that much more pleasing to the eye, in my opinion.

cmm889 9 years, 10 months ago

I really dont think that tree branch is a good example of a framing device. your wideangle image is by far better than this headliner image.

I honestly believe it hurts the photo far more than it could possibly help it.

Aimee Polson 9 years, 10 months ago

All I know is that I miss wide angle lenses. I wish that the point and shoot digital cameras had wide angle options. I'd use that WAY more than zoom.

Mike Yoder 9 years, 10 months ago

JMG You're right. I do that and don't even think about why sometimes. Tilting the lens drives some people crazy, but I think it does create some tension that can help an otherwise flat image.

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