Composition: The Frame

Examples of image framing

While concentrating on the subject of the photo, it's easy to overlook other parts of the composition. Before you hit the shutter button, take note of everything in the photo — not just the subject.

Check the edges of the frame

If an object is not completely in shot (i.e. part of it is outside the frame), make sure it will still look okay. Some objects don't look good if you can't see the whole thing, or at least a certain amount of it. Partial objects can be awkward or even confusing; for example, a sign that begs to be read but is cut off half way through. You can't always avoid this situation; sometimes it doesn't matter, and you may even use it for effect. However it is something to be mindful of — try to have a reason for including or excluding partial objects.

It's especially important to notice how people in the background are framed — it's best not to cut them off in an unflattering way. You may need to adjust the framing to have enough of them in shot to look comfortable, or leave them out altogether.

The first example on the right includes a person in the background who is uncomfortably cut off. To fix this you could either zoom in to exclude the person, or zoom out to reveal both background people.

Avoid distracting objects

If something in the photo attracts the eye more than the subject, try to compose the photo differently.

Next Page: Camera Angles