Friday, May 11, 2012

Frame It

When you set out to take a photo, how do you choose the items and elements you want to include in your frame and those you don't?

For me, first and foremost, I think about what I want to convey to the viewer; the specific story I want to tell. From there I think about choosing a wide or narrow I choose just a portion of the object or the person, or do I step back and take in the entire scene? Once I actually start shooting, I make sure that my eye travels around the entire frame and that I'm happy with the placement of everything in that frame as it relates to what's going on. Additionally, over the past few months, I've worked hard at cropping with my camera, limiting the amount of cropping I do during post processing. That's not to say I don't ever crop after I shoot, especially if I choose a square format, but working at it during shooting has forced me to use my entire frame.

The photo below was taken of my husband on his 39th birthday. Before I started, I knew I wanted to highlight his face, perhaps tell the story of his kind eyes. But as I began shooting, something drew me to his mouth and when he gave me one of his signature smiles, I knew that was my shot. I used a shallow depth of field and focused on his lips. I could have chosen to include his entire face in the photo, but cropping out the top half of his face and leaving only his nose and chin, really drew the attention to his winning smile!

This next photo was taken the following day. I wanted a shot that showcased my son as an eight year old (my husband's and son's birthdays are one one day apart). With this one, I actually began by taking several standard, from-the-shoulders-up, portrait shots. But my son was not cooperating with my requests and I was unable to capture a genuine look from him. Time for plan B.....focusing on his ever-lengthening legs and well-worn shoes. What I love the most about this shot is that it tells a completely different story than the one I might have told if I had captured his eyes or his smile.

Choosing what to frame, both while shooting and during post processing, can be incredibly powerful and can completely change the story you are telling. I'd love to hear the decisions you make while you are shooting and how you choose to showcase certain elements to convey your story! Then post some of those shots to our flickr page!


Dotti said...

Oh, such fun photos! Yes, fun because of the wonderfully unique perspectives. There is so much here to ponder, for our photography and for life in general. Sometimes ... often times? ... I let myself become overwhelmed by the big picture when I should be breaking it all down into smaller pieces.


Anonymous said...

I love the unexpected perspectives of these photos. I tend to crop in on most of my photos but not to this extent - now I will be looking differently. Thanks for this post.

terriporter said...

Love this post, Stephanie! I used to do most of my cropping in post-processing but for the last year or so I have been trying to do more of my cropping in camera. I love the way a close crop tells more of the story! Great shots to illustrate your post too.

Nancy said...

I can't tell you how much I love this post....I have gotten very interested in taking these kinds of shots and I am having so much fun doing this with my grandchildren.....I have always liked to focus on one element because it's less distracting to me therefore sometimes I have to concentrate on taking a larger view of things.....Now that I think about it, this point can apply to many areas of life.....

Linda said...

Your shots are great! Cropped perfectly! I admit I try to get it right in the camera, exposure etc and cropping (because I'm lazy!) but sometimes when I'm at the computer I wish I had included a little more so I try not to crop too much. That way I can shave off a little if I need to.

I do like to focus on little things though and will take pictures of hands or feet or little things that my subjects are doing or looking at.


Anonymous said...

I am such a huge fan of your photography Stephanie! Your perspective is always refreshing and inspiring. So glad you're my friend so I can steal your ideas :)

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