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Improve photo composition by 'Filling the Frame'

 24th Jul 2009

Subject in the middleWhen we look at something it's always in the middle of our field of view. This is how we naturally see the world - but it doesn't necessarily make for great pictures.

Our brains filter out all the excess space around whatever it is we're looking at and we don't even notice it.

All we see is the breathtaking scenery or the beautiful flower etc.

When looking at a person we tend to look them in the eye so it's their face that's in the middle of what we see.

Therefore it's completely normal to do this when looking through a camera's viewfinder.

Look at Lorna on the right here. The poor girl is lost with all that unnecessary space around her - the photo is dull and boring.

A camera has no brain and can't remove the extra space for you. It records whatever you choose to put in the viewfinder. If you don't take a moment to think about it - you get uninteresting pictures.

Before you press the shutter look around the edges and think about how much of what you can see through the camera, you want in your photo. Is there anything you can get rid of to improve the impact

You don't need to see all the field to know where Lorna is. Is it the field you're taking a photo of - or the girl?

turn the camer and get closerfill the frame for a better compositionMove in closer to the subject and fill the frame. Think about which way up the subject is - up and down or side to side?

For a photo like this it's obviously up and down so turn the camera on its end so it's the same way round.

The picture far left is an improvement on the one above but it could still include more of the subject - particularly as it's a portrait.

So get in closer still and fill up the frame for a great portrait. There's still enough background to tell us she's in a field of barley.

And when you're framing a portrait - don't put people's faces smack in the middle of the picture...

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