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Framing Your Shot

Lesson 44 from: FAST CLASS: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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44. Framing Your Shot


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Framing Your Shot

Another concept that works very well in photography is framing. At one point I was in Cuba and our guide was taking us down to this viewpoint. Apparently did built some sort of viewpoints so you could go down to the water. And as we're walking down there, I'm looking off to the side and I'm like, What's that over there? He's like, It's just abandoned building. I'm going, Let's go over there. Photographers air kind of different. We don't always want to go to the standard spot. And so let's go to the abandoned building and we get over there and this is one of those few times where it's like the first shot is the shot that I wanted. There was some kids playing soccer in this abandoned warehouse that had no roof on it, and somebody had kicked the ball through the open window out into the ocean and the kids were waiting for one of the kids to go up there and dive into the ocean and get the soccer ball back. And so this one kid was just kind of watching these other kids retrieving the soccer...

ball out there. But it was a way to frame my subject up, and he was only there for a few seconds and he left and I got one or two shots. But it was the first shot because it was just a real quick moment that came and went right there. But having that subject sitting right in that window is just a way that is perfectly framed in there, and you're I go straight to him, a great place to see him and where they really stand out, using this building to frame the tower right there and so finding one object to help frame another object. And so this is kind of the opposite of what we talked about earlier about getting close to your subject. Don't have any other, uh, interferences or intrusions on the frame. It's OK to back up and include a little bit Mauritz going to give us more information about where that subject is. In some cases, it gives us a peek, a boo view or just a different perspective on what it looks like. This is one of my favorite places down in the redwoods. There's this giant tree, and it's been slowly rotting out over the years and the core of it has been coming out, and it's It's so big now that you can actually crawl inside of it. And I consider this the hobbit view of the world, you know, is there coming out of their little would home in that place. And so down there on my favorite street in Havana, using the little bit of an archway creating a frame for that subject. In this case, we have a frame within a frame, and so that could be used as well in Cuba, uh, at the dance school, one of my favorite shots, not them dancing at all. It's just this nice little stairway and all of this dark area around it is a nice place to frame are subject. One of the concepts will talk about in kind of how the human vision sees things is that we're attracted to light areas and less interested in dark areas, because it's harder to see what's in the dark area, and it's photographs like this. Well, there's something more cause it's more than just a frame, because it's not just like your traditional frame. It's not the side of a building that we can clearly see in there because that doesn't you wouldn't normally think of stairs and the underside of this floor here as a frame, but it does end up making a frame because it's dark. And so this is my new invention in the world of composition, and it's something that I encountered in a photograph about 20 years ago. It's like, Wow, I really like this photograph and I was trying to pin down exactly what I liked about it. And so my new concept in how to frame not all the time but just as one of the choices and that's what these are just lots of choices in ways to work with subjects is something that I call Shadow framing. In the photograph that I took about 20 years ago was this shot from a kayak trip that me and my buddy went on and we were trying to get a shot of us, our boat and all of our gear. And so we were hauling all of our gear up onto the shoreline to take a picture. Now you might notice there is no boat, and that is because we've set the tripod up. We started figuring out where we wanted to have everything lined up and the boat still had to be moved up and it was kind of heavy. But I saw that there was this cloud pattern that was kind of going over the ground and that if we were right on the top of this little ridge, we were gonna be in the light and there was a shadow in the foreground, a natural shadow. Not anything I did in photo shop like that. I says, We got to get it quick. Forget the boat. Let's just go with the gear. And so we got this 10 seconds self timer shot and we got the shot and we're in the light. And the reason that this works in my mind is that your eyes are drawn to what's bright. And so this shadow in the foreground is kind of like a buffer. Does anyone know about what do they call it? It's bumper bowling for little kids. They put bumpers in the side so that you don't go off Well, this is kind of like a bumper. You get down to that dark area. It's not a hard edge, but you kind of like OK, well, that's not so interesting. I'm gonna come back into the frame there, so if you can include a dark shadow somewhere around the edges of the frame, it's better than a bright line. So, for instance, I'm shooting this monument here and along the bottom edge of the frame. There's some trees that are casting light on dark shadows. That light area on the bottom of the frame is attracting some attention. What you need to do is just move a few feet forward so that there's a dark shadow along the bottom of the frame. And so any time I am somewhere between light and shadows, I don't mind including just a little bit of shadow region along the bottom. It's just kind of a nice soft buffer before your eye hits the edge of the frame and keeps you back into the frame. And so this is a this is related to frame me. This is related to your eyes being attracted to fight too bright viewpoints. It's kind of a track. It's kind of similar to vignette e vignette into something that you can add in post, which kind of looks like a shadow, but This is a natural vignette. And so in this one street in Cuba, the cars and the people and for most, for the most part we're in the sunlight. But I had this one little shadow right along the foreground, and so I was happily shooting photos there for quite some time. It doesn't work very well in an hour or two, because the shadows have moved, and so having shadows along the foreground typically is a little bit easier. But sometimes it's on the top, or sometimes it's on the side. And so I have a few more examples in here because I've been collecting. And now that I've been able to kind of pin this down on how this works and how to frame the shot, I've been shooting a lot more photos that have this nice natural frame. And whenever I see it, I get really excited cause it's like I just want to get that frame just a little bit in there, and it's just a nice natural frame. And sometimes it's not necessarily specifically a shadow. It's just something that's darker in there, as it makes us a nice little buffer on your subject and so a lot of these light in these cases, the light is moving back and forth, and it doesn't last there forever. And so that one dark row of trees is kind of nice is just that edge buffer. And one of my favorite photos for Shadow Frame Me is that I got at Overhang on the roof. About me to be is a nice shadow that has a little bit of detail, but it doesn't attract a lot of attention, and then it's very dark along the bottom, and it just really keeps your eyes in the middle there. So try shadow framing. I'm gonna trademarked the phrase if it hasn't been done so far, and we'll see if see if that works for anyone else. So hopefully that's like a good new one that you haven't heard before.

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