Framing the world

Deciding how to compose a subject in a photo is one of my favourite parts of photography. It can make such a big difference in how your subject is viewed—literally and emotionally.

When people talk about setting up a photo, one of the first methods they tend to discuss is the rule of thirds. It’s an important method, and one I use a lot myself.

In fact, if you pay attention, you’ll see I tend to place my photo subjects in either the bottom-left or bottom-right corner of a photo. I’m not entirely sure why those two placements pull me in as much as they do, but it happens, and I often have to tell myself to try something new.

But despite the importance of the rule of thirds, it’s not the only way to compose an image. A simple Google search will bring up a ton of tips, all of them worth trying.

One that I love is framing.

A small bird sitting on the branches of a tree.

It’s a straight-forward concept: Pick your subject, pick something in your background or foreground that can work as a frame, and put them together. In my latest bird photograph, for instance, the branches of the tree—both the larger horizontal ones and the smaller vertical ones—are framing the bird I’ve chosen as my subject.

Of course, your frame doesn’t have to be that tight, nor that shapely. There are plenty of examples of a frame being much more disconnected. Like the tree and branches surrounding the sleeping rabbit in this photo, or the blurred top and bottom of this page.

Regardless, the framing is meant to help bring attention to your photo subject. Help them stand out, accentuate them in some way.

I hope I’ve succeeded in doing so with that little bird above.

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