Monday, May 24, 2010


“Framing” is the practice of positioning your photo in the viewfinder or view screen. I am a little old fashioned and like to use the viewfinder. This works well when you are actually seeing what the lens sees. In some cameras, digital and film, the viewfinder shows you the scene, but not through the lens. If that’s the case, there is a slight difference (parallax) between what you see and what the camera sees. Let’s assume though, that what you see is what the camera sees.
Traditionally, the rules of framing were there to make the photo interesting. Thus, you were encouraged to make the photo asymmetrical. You didn’t put the subject of the photo directly in the center of the frame (One picture is way too symmetrical left to right). Nor did you put the horizon directly at the midpoint of the picture. You were encouraged to divide the frame up into thirds, or even a nine-square grid, in order to achieve a striking effect. The other picture is much better in this regard. This advice was based on two notions. The first was that the purpose of the photo was to be striking -- that is, artistic. The second was the (then) reality that changing a picture once taken was a difficult process. Even cropping or dodging required lab work. If I am taking a photo for an artistic competition (which I do every week), I obey the first rule. Since the purpose of this class, however, is not to be striking but to transfer information, the first rule doesn’t apply.
And, of course, the basis for the second rule is dead. In addition, ease of cropping would allow me to eliminate the triangle at the bottom of the picture. For this reason, it's no longer necessary to pay close attention to getting the framing just right. I advocate taking a slightly larger pic and cropping it.

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