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 focus....do 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!