Mini Professional Photography Course: Composing the Frame

Here is a short photography course all about how to compose the frame when you are photographing portraits, landscapes, objects and architecture or buildings.

Materials Required to Complete This Project:

  • Frames
  • Photographs
  • Matting
  • Scissors or matting cutters

Step 1 - Take a Look at Picture Composition

When taking a picture the composition of the frame is one of the most important features to consider.  If you want eye-catching pictures that stand out, the composition of the frame is essential to the total make-up of the photo.  The first questions you have to ask yourself is what is the subject of the photo going to be and how can you enhance that subject to the best of your ability. In other words, what is the focus of your picture?

Step 2 - Review Natural Frames

First, look for natural frames in the area around you. Ask yourself if you want your subject in the middle of the picture, or situated off-center. It is recommended that you don't cut off a small part of an object, such as a person's hand, or part of a building.  If you leave an entire piece outside of the frame it does not look odd, but if there is only part of an object in the picture it looks like something is missing and can be very distracting. 

Step 3 - Focus on the Small Things

Next, focus on the small things in a scene rather than the whole.  Obviously this will not work for every scene you want to shoot, but the key phrase to learn in photography is: "Less is more."  A good rule of thumb is to keep your frames simple and free of clutter or distractions.  Use simple lines and shapes to the best of your advantage, and try to incorporate those with the subject of your picture. These simple lines can draw your eye to something that you wouldn't normally pay attention to, and this can enhance your total picture.

Step 4 - Know the Rule of Thirds

Planning your photos correctly can separate an exceptional photo from an average one.  If you want to enhance the quality of your photos to make them stand out, the classic "rule of thirds" is a practical practice that you should learn.  The rule of thirds actually started in art, but has been incorporated into the photography world.  It is applicable to a basic frame and has often worked to greatly enhance photos to create points of interest.  This is how it works:  a frame can be divided into nine equal parts, divided by two vertical lines and two horizontal lines.  The four lines create four intersections, and these four intersections should serve as focal points, or main points of interest, to the subject of the picture.

Just remember there are no set rules in photography. Remember the basic rules of framing a shot and the details you want to include or exclude from the photo.  Experimentation is key and has been the result of extraordinary photography.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: