Exercise – Fitting the frame to the subject

For this exercise I had to take a series of photos with different framing to teach myself more about the possibilities of composition and the effect it can have on an image.

Usually when I take a photo, I see it in my mind whether it’s what I want and take it, but I don’t spend ages over planning the image. So this exercise was a very good one for teaching me that.

 I spent several days on this project with three different subjects. The first subject I chose was my cat. I put her in the shade where the lighting was soft and took several photos. But it didn’t really work out as she kept wanting to run to the camera and sit on my knee. Soon after this I hurt my arm and wasn’t able to take photos for a few days. In this time I studied my photography books to give me some ideas and tips. I also studied this website, http://www.annabelwilliams.com/ which I found very inspiring and helpful.

When eventually I was well enough, I chose a flower instead. I got all the images I wanted apart from the one where the subject fits tightly in the frame. I had a relapse of my illness and when I went outside again the flower was dead and shriveled and I decided to start again.

First Photo.

The first photo I had to take was one of a subject where I take too much time over the composition. Instead just taking a straightforward photo.

I had chosen my new subject as the Cherry Blossom tree in our garden which had suddenly exploded with beautiful blossoms perfect for a nice Spring shot.

I stood back with the tree against the bushes and fence as opposed to houses on the other side. I used a wide aperture, f.5.6 so the background wasn’t as in focus. With photos of nature and flowers I like using one stop exposure as it really illuminates the flowers, though it didn’t work here as it does on macro shots. I also had the flash on. The ISO was at 100 as the sun was fairly bright and this would retain the best image quality while allowing the colours to be fresh and bright.

I wish now that I had used a smaller aperture and let more of the image be in focus.


Second Photo

Next I had to take a photo where I thought more about the composition and let the subject fit perfectly into the frame without overlapping or leaving to much negative space. I lined it up in the viewfinder and took several photos in case one of them didn’t fit perfectly.

I still feel that there is a bit too much negative space but this is the best of the images.


Third Photo

Next I had to take a photo where just part of the subject fitted in the frame, with no edges or negative space. I experimented with photos of the blossom and the leaves. Using one stop exposure and a flash. I lay under the tree where I took a photo looking up into the sky, overexposing by another spot so the blossom wasn’t backlit and turned into a silhouette. The sky was slightly overcast though so I decided to shoot downwards with a wide aperture so the green grass would make a soft and colourful background. When I did this I saw the beautiful pattern of the back of the blossom. Conventionally photos of blossom are from the front where stamen and petals are the main focal point. So I quite liked this unconventional approach of the back of the petals.

I was pleased with this photo though the twig in the bottom right hand corner is slightly distracting.


Fourth Photo

For the final photo I had to take a photo where the tree was only a third in the frame and the main emphasis was on the surroundings. I found this one slightly hard, whenever I stood back to let the tree fill less of the frame, I only had a photo of the neighborhood and houses, which I didn’t want to capture. I circled the tree trying to find the best angle, even turning the camera vertically to see whether the sky could be included more. I read in my photography book that you should get into the habit of turning the camera horizontally and vertically every time because you never know when an unusual or striking image could be right in front of you. I walked down the side of the house trying to include the foliage which would act as natural framing. This didn’t work, even by increasing exposure, the image was too dark and uninteresting. I decided to take a photo inside the house shooting through the window and using the windowsill and frame as a natural framing device.

However in the end, I walked to the edge of my neighbor’s garden and shot behind the magnolia bush. The photo is split into three layers, the out of focus ivy draws your eye along the fence and past the colour and to the tree in the background. I used an ISO of 400 as it was raining and dark, and a flash to increase the vibrancy of the colours.


In this exercise I learnt a great deal about composition, I can now spend time to create the best composition possible for the subject and realise how different framing can really dramatically alter the impact, vision and message of a photo.


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