Fill the Frame

Up Close and Personal

Sometimes when people see an interesting subject to photograph, they either don't get close enough or they don't fill the frame (these are kind of one in the same). I know that was the case for me especially in the beginning. I would take photos at eye level (i.e. I wouldn't crouch or lay down to get a shot, etc.). Eye level isn't bad, but the idea is to change your perspective. Even just getting low and looking up can change your subject drastically. Take this tree, for example.

I loved how dreary it looked (as it was quite cold that day), I loved the snow on the limbs and I loved the texture of the bark. So instead of shooting it from afar at my eye level, I decided to snuggle up close to the tree and shoot up.

Filling the frame can make your picture much more interesting--so next time you take your camera out, try to get close to your subject and do something unique. Even if you try it and botch it, it would be better to experiment than to not try at all.

Let me know how it goes!


Fill Up the Frame: 3 Tips

I like to look up when I'm taking photos. I've had several posts on this before--you just never know what you'll see or the different perspective you'll have than if you were far away. 

One thing I have learned over time is to fill the frame. From the beginning, I was not afraid to fill up the entire frame I was looking through. I don't know why this came natural to me, but it did. Ever since I've been trying to refine this skill. 

Three short tips I would give:

1. When you think you are close, go closer. Some of my best shots were getting up a lot closer than I felt comfortable doing. With the shot above, I ended up using my 50mm 1.4. Now, I if I had pulled out my 85mm 1.8--I wonder what I would have caught! I end up rarely using my 85mm because it makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward, but when I do I'm almost always surprised. Especially in portraits, the best photos are getting close to your subject. Don't be afraid - just do it!

2. Take time to look at everything in your viewfinder. Yes, with the digital age we have all become snap-happy with no consequence (i.e. running out of space), but it is good to look at every angle inside of the viewfinder before you take the picture. I even find myself looking into the viewfinder and moving around (which is probably not that safe), but it allows me to see things differently, from different angles before I take the shot.

3. Think lines and symmetry. I LOVE symmetry, especially in photos. Yes, sometimes you should break the rules, but symmetry can add so much to a photo. The photo above for example, is not perfectly symmetrical (because I shot it off-centered), but the lines are symmetrical. The lines of the subject are beautiful and all lead out and in at the same time. 

When you think about a portrait, think about the lines of your subject--how you position them matters. The angle you stand matters. It all matters when composing your shot. 

What you don't need to do now is to analyze every shot (because life will become boring :), but it is good to think about these things, especially when you are leisurely taking photos and you can take a moment to think about what you're doing. And eventually, over time, it'll become easier and you'll naturally do it! 

So now, go pick up your camera, fill up the frame and have fun!