Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Framing the Shot

One of the most essential, if not the most essential, things that you have to "stick" when shooting is framing the shot. Remember those lousy 60s movies where the film director walks around with his hands to his face in the shape of a frame? It was cheesy in the movies, but in fact this is exactly what you need to be doing when framing a shot.

However, you don't have to hold your hands out like a Hollywood director. You simply use your camera to frame the shot.

Framing the shot is getting those important components of the shot in the shot. What does this mean? It means getting the subject, foreground, and background in the shot in a way that maximizes the effect or emotion you are trying to elicit.

There is one tried-and-true rule in framing a shot: The rule of thirds. Imagine the scene you are capturing is divided into 9 boxes, like a tic-tac-toe game. The points where the horizontal and vertical lines meet are the key places where you want to position your subjects. It's generally safe to say that your subject should not be centered in the middle box; rather, his or her eyes should lay on top of the top intersection, either on the left or the right.

Depending upon the foreground and background and the direction in which the subject is looking, and/or where the action (if any) in the scene is moving towards, will dictate whether the subject's eyes lay on the left or the right upper intersection.

If, say, the subject is looking to his left and he's facing you, then his eyes should be positioned near the upper left intersection.

If the subject is kneeling down and looking up towards the right of the frame, then his eyes should be near the lower left intersection.

As with everything, though, there are exceptions to this rule. Remember, photography is a little science (all that technology!) and a LOT art. Therefore, be wary of sticking to this rule 100% of the time. There are occasions where centering the subject works or where doing exactly the opposite can have quite a good effect.

For example, if you're trying to show symmetry, your subject might be best represented by centering it in the shot.

For a slightly different perspective on framing a shot, take a look here.

No comments:

Post a Comment