Tip of the Week - Watch Your Framing!
This week I am starting a new series here on my Blog entitled "Tip of The Week" whereby every week I will provide some quick and useful tips which should aid you greatly in improving your own photography skills and enable you to produce stunning images.
So, for the inaugural post in this series, let's start off with the topic of Framing, why it is super-important and why failing to pay attention to framing when composing your image can lead to many exposures being thrown into the thrash can!
In the above graphic, there are two very similar images placed beside each other. While at first glance they might both appear to be the very same image, they are in fact two very completely different images. One of these images is a complete failure fit for the thrash can and the other is a perfectly usable image.
So, what separates these two images? That's right, the Framing!
You see the image on the left (the failure!) has been poorly framed whereby the branches of the tree are jutting outside of the frame. This might seem like a small mistake and it is a small mistake, however it is a small mistake that has a disastrous impact on our final product. This image is really let down by my poor framing and is really only suitable for the thrash can. However, the image on the right is framed better and all that was necessary in order to achieve this better framing was to explore and examine the entire contents of the failed attempted exposure, spot the obvious framing errors and then re-compose the shot so the framing was improved before firing off the shutter for another exposure.
In honesty, this is a rather common and easy mistake to make while hand-holding our cameras because we tend to focus more on working at speed and "capturing the shot" quickly as opposed to the much slower working methodology and workflow that we often apply when working with a tripod. Tripods naturally slow us down and cause us to think a little more about our compositions and our framing.
So, how can you ensure that you are framing your images correctly to achieve the best results?
- Use a Tripod
If possible, use a tripod when framing your exposures. As I mentioned above, tripods tend to force us to work in a slower and more detailed way. And like everything in life, the more attention we pay to a given task, the more likely it is that we will accomplish that task with the expected and desired results. A slower, more methodological approach is always only a good thing!
- Slow down and take your time!
If the option of using a tripod is not available or feasible, perhaps you are traveling and cannot afford the extra weight of hauling around your tripod or perhaps you simply forgot your tripod at home, either way, it is still possible to achieve good framing while hand-holding your camera. The trick here is actually the exact same thing that the tripod forces you to do anyway and that simply is to slow down and take your time. When lifting the camera viewfinder up to your eye, explore the entire scene within the viewfinder and pay attention to all of the different elements before hitting the shutter button. This exercise of forcing yourself to slow down will only add a few seconds onto your shooting time but it will make all the difference to your final result!
- Carefully examine the last exposure before moving on to your next shot
Always review your last exposure, completely explore it and examine it. One of the greatest additions and benefits of a Digital Camera over the older Analogue Film Cameras is that of the LCD screen. This little beauty enables you to instantly review the exposures that you have taken so as Photographers operating in this modern digital era we really are without excuse! Use the playback feature on your camera, review the last exposure, examine it for any composition and framing errors and if necessary re-shoot the scene ensuring that you correct any of the previous errors.
By following the above three tips, you will instantly see an improvement in your photography standards and your final image outputs.
Keep shooting, keep learning and keep progressing!