For most that have a creative eye and intend to utilize and explore those hidden talents through photography, there is often frustration in capturing what the mind is visualizing. Firstly, once you have mastered the workings of your camera or mobile device in either auto, or manual mode, you are “in the driver’s seat”. It is most important to realize that rushing to take a shot does not always work out as expected, and as a result, you tend to just except mandioca results. This is definitely unacceptable, as the intention to use your camera is to capture the best images possible, images you want to show your friends, family and work colleagues. It is great results, that will determine the driving force behind applying time and execution to your photography as a hobby or potential career.

Composition is dependent on the subject choice

Different dimensions for different platforms

Depending on the platform you are intending to view and add your images, you will need to identify the size requirements for the image, sometimes square, other times landscape or portrait. The reason this is so important is that you never want your image to be cropped and sized by the application or platform, as this will destroy the overall photograph. Imagine shooting a portrait full length of a person and placing it on a landscape platform, you might lose the head… Platforms like Instagram are often painful, as they require a square ratio.

Fortunately, most cameras and mobile devices let you select the appropriate option to ensure this does not occur.

When to frame landscape

Photographers who enjoy wide vistas such as landscape, both city or urban, will shoot in a landscape composition, as to capture the entire view of the subject, hill or city vistas as an example, the same applies for capturing large groups of people.

When to frame portrait

Photographers who focus more on taller such subjects like full body profiles and tall buildings for example need to shoot in a portrait style, as landscape will add unnecessary visual aspects to the image and will dilute the main emphasis of the intended subject matter.

Tips to achieving the best results

For either option choice, this will again affect the placing of the image on the desired platform. As a photographer, the intention is to have focus and attention on the subject and eliminate the “unnecessary clutter” that will be a distraction from the main focus. The choice of lens also plays a large role in framing the shot correctly. Most lenses, other than a fixed lens, have a range selection, so you are able to zoom in or out accordingly. If you capturing a person, the frame should be on the person more than the background, as the person needs to feature as the hero. Use your DOP (depth of field), or your focal points to ensure the mood and effect the you desire. This is a standard setting or option on most cameras as well as mobile devices of today.

Avoid distortion

Distortion is a very important factor to consider. There is nothing worse than bent walls or distorted profiles. To avoid this occurring, both the lens and the distance from where you shoot from is important.

As a rule of thumb, you need to be the height of the subject away, as your position, to shoot from. Basically, in your mind, as an example, when shooting a full length shot, pretend you have a mirror image reflection on the ground of the height of the person, between you and the actual person, then take a few steps back. The same applies for tall buildings, if you unable to get far enough back, investigate the options of shooting the building from a different side or angle by walking up or down the street until this is achieved.

Lastly, get square with the subject by ensuring you position yourself where the lens will be parallel to the ground. As soon as you tilt the lens, be prepared for a distorted or intended more extreme abstract result. As a last alternative, if all else fails, understand how to operate your transform tool, as well as the warp and distortion tools in your software editing program to rectify the problem.
For you action styled images photographers will sometime opt for a wide-angle lens and ensure that they are very close to the subject, this will ensure that the intended distortion is achieved.

Once you have applied the above to your photography, it would be a great idea to join a photography group to further your knowledge and ask questions, or perhaps attend an outdoor or portrait workshop with focus on framing and composition.

Rules and principals to Composition

In my option, it is dependent on the intention and the signature of the photographer. Guidelines relate to such principals as the rule of thirds, along with many other suggestions as to what makes a photograph correct in terms of the visual appeal, these are just guides to assist you. My suggestion is to make use of visual references from viewing the content from the photographers that you appreciate and love most. This is the way you discover your taste and develop your style and composition. As a photographer you set the limits. Google offers a huge amount of options through the likes on Pinterest, where you are able to absorb from the masters of choice for your desired genre.

I trust this will assist you further in improving your composition and framing of your images.