Start to see how you can use framing to improve composition of your photos

The assignment

Look around constantly for objects you can use as a "FRAME" for your subject.
These are generally (1) items around subject or (2) items near your camera.
They can be natural or mad-made objects, quite obvious frames or subtle. 
Don't worry if you are a bit non-plussed by the results - it's useful to discuss what might have gone wrong.

Post your shots in the facebook group explaining any difficulties - or successes - you had.

Some examples..

To get you thinking about all the hundreds of things you can use as frames, here's some examples...
Even when you don't have a camera in your hand, as you are doing your everyday activities take a look at what you might use as a frame.


Toy car

Frame position : Near the subject

Type of frame : Window - the most obvious type of frame! 

Notes : Look for extra strong frames. I could have clipped off the edges here and just used the frame of the rectangular window. But by including the two edges of the car I now have a double-frame, twice as strong!


Tube train

Frame position : Near the subjects

Type of frame : Window frame

Notes : It's usually best to shoot an obvious frame like this "straight-on" rather than from the side. So I carefully positioning myself right in front of the window not a few metres to the left, for example. 


Lego building

Frame position : Near the camera

Type of frame : Door frame 

Notes : As the subjects are quite far away and not posing the doorway technique emphasises that the viewer is looking in on their world whilst they are unaware.



Frame position : Near the camera

Type of frame : Playground equipment 

Notes : In the playground you'll find lots of lines and frames everywhere! But be aware of your focus. It should be on the subjects as you can see here. 



Frame position : Very near the camera

Type of frame : Playground equipment - I actually climbed up into the structure and was photographing between the wooden struts (see top of previous photo). 

Notes : Have a think about this makes you feel, because of the narrow viewpoint dark edges you have a feeling of peering out unnoticed. This framing is great for capturing a thoughtful child completely unaware of the camera - it wouldn't work for a posed smiley portrait of a child as it has the wrong feel to it.


The bridge

Frame position : Very near the child

Type of frame : Fences and railings - in this case it's the side of a footbridge.

Notes : Be careful that they look natural and comfortable in the photo - like they have chosen to do it themselves. In this photos the child wasn't asked but was just peering out inquisitively. If the child looks awkward and it's forced it rarely works. So rather than give instructions about posing, instead be aware of objects like them and then perhaps you might say "do you see the ducks?" or something to cause them to look out. If they don't cooperate, well try it another day!



Frame position : Near the subject

Type of frame : Mirror

Notes : The key to this is that the mum and daughter are only in focus in the mirror. If the back of their heads were in focus, but the reflections blurry, it wouldn't work at all.



Frame position : Very near the camera

Type of frame : Zipped entrance to the trampoline.

Notes : Of course I could have moved the camera lens forward two inches and not had any part of this in the frame, so this was quite deliberate to use it as a frame. It makes the photo seem more documentary and authentic. It also makes what could be a rather dull photo a bit more interesting.



Frame position : In the background / near subject

Type of frame : Trees, branches and pathways

Notes : This is one of the most difficult frames to use. The bushes on the right of the photo are one side of the frame, the branches above another and these together with the edges of the path provide a subtle frame of the subject group. Look out for overhanging branches, trees either side of the path, and practice. Needs a lot of chimping (checking your camera screen).



Frame position : Near the camera

Type of frame : Blurred people

Notes : Another of the more advanced techniques from Framing 101! Again, remember that the subject must be in the focus. Even though this photo is partly abou the kids watching the chess match, without the chess match in focus nothing would make sense.


So go out and search...

look for frames everywhere!