19/06/2009

Composition - "Framing"

When we are really happy with a particular photo, we might decide to have it enlarged and framed. We may even select a coloured matt to go between the photo and the frame. And we will choose a matt of a certain colour to enhance the colours in our subject, thereby drawing viewer’s attention to it - but no, this is not the type of framing we are going to be dealing with on this occasion.
Here, we are going to be looking at what elements we can use for the framing of subjects within our photographs and why there is a need for it.
There are many different elements we can have at our disposal for framing our subjects, but we have to choose wisely, because like choosing the wrong coloured matt, it can either make or break the image.
Some of these elements could include:
Windows, doorways, gates, tunnels, bridges, pergolas, archways, overhanging branches, etc. You could even use people to frame a subject, by photographing between their head and shoulders.
Like the overhanging branch, it is not necessary for your framing to go all the way around the scene. Maybe just at the top or the two sides perhaps.
The benefits of using framing in your photos can include:
Adding a sense of depth to an image and providing another dimension.
Example, your framing is in the foreground, your subject, in the middle area and whatever you select for your background. There, is your sense of depth.
Your framing can also offer a hint to the viewer as to where the photo was taken or at what time of the year.
It can be used as a device for guiding the viewer’s eye toward your main subject and keeping it there. After all, is that not what we long for, prolonged interest in our photos?
So, with future photos, don’t be afraid to try this concept, but just ask yourself, when you are considering it - ‘Is this going to add to or detract from the quality of the image I am composing?’
Remember the “Keep it Simple” rule. If your not careful, framing can add extra clutter to a photo. On the other hand, it can be useful in hiding background clutter.
Lastly:
You will need to make the decision whether or not to have your framing out of focus or sharp. An out of focus framing can give you a moody look and put more emphasis on your subject or an in-focus framing can add more context to the image.
Framing your subject is not something you are going to consider every time you go out to takes photos, but this may help add another string to your bow.