Tuesday, 15 December 2015

12 days of Christmas photography tips. Day four, tip four: Framing Your Shot

Day four, tip four:  Framing your shot - The Rule of Thirds

You might look at this Framing Your Shot as the second part Day 1,tip 1, Compose You Shot. Once yo've cleared the clutter and have a willing subject then knowing how to position that subject to get a truly aesthetically pleasing images is a big help.

So lets take a look at framing. To be precise framing is really a combination balance, layout and arrangement. Some people have a natural feel for what works well and others just need a bit of guidance and one of the best guides to use is the Rule of Thirds.

This is Darren Rowse's 
description of the theory from Digital Photography School Blog

‘The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the centre of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.'

What you need to do

The idea behind the rule of thirds is to imagine dividing an image into thirds by drawing three horizontal lines and then three vertical lines so that you have 9 parts. The grid should look like this

Many smart phone and tablet devices provide 
you with this kind of grid for taking and framing photos

This grid (our rule of thirds) tells us where the four most important parts of the image are that you should consider placing people or key points of interest in the image at these cross-sections .

Here the top right interest point falls over baby Etta's eye. 
Incidentally, the eyes happen to be the first thing that most people are drawn to when they look at an image that contains a face so it's important to make sure they are absolutely in sharp focus.

These key four areas are not the only parts of the photo which when utilised make for truly pleasing images to look at. We must not forget the four lines that make up this magical grid. If you place key subjects or your horizon along these lines your image automatically becomes more pleasing to the eye. 

It is really up to you how you use this framing rule. I've been photographing people long enough to know roughly where I need to place them and I do find images more appealing when i frame or crop them using this rule than if I don't.

I cropped these photos of Gaby using the rule of thirds so
that the top right interest point now falls across the expressive part of her face which encourages us to look there first. 

Yet this photo of teenager Natalia (below) doesn't strictly work with the rule of thirds grid but you don't have to be strict, you can be approximate as I have been and still end up with a beautiful feel to a photograph. There are other pleasing elements at play in this image such as diagonals which you can find more information on in the blog I reference below, The 10 Rules of Composition.

What baby Gaby and Natalia have in common is that are looking into the image/frame and our natural curiosity is to want to follow that line of gaze which means our eyes naturally sweep across the photo. 

Once you've been playing about with the Rule of Thirds for a while it will eventually become second nature. 

In these 12 days blog posts there really isn't enough time to go into all the little tips and tricks associated with fabulously aesthetically pleasing images but you can read more here in The 10 Rules of Composition 

In short: Off Centre and sharp eyes work a treat.

If you try any of these tips do send me your photos I'd love to see them and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

However, if you are in that, 'OMG, I totally want a great family photo' place but are overwhelmed by doing it yourself then never fear, help is here! Click here to contact me so you can check this off your list. Easy Peasey

Sammi Sparke Photography working between Sheffield, Cambridge and London

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