Composition & Framing
Let's go into composition, so before we actually talk about composition itself, let's talk about cropping rules. It's pretty universal for all photography, there are certain rules that need to be respected. So when it comes to portraits, full body is one way to crop, and then if we need to go in tighter, the next place to crop would be above the knees. We never wanna be cutting through the limbs, so never through the ankles or through the waist itself, it makes for an awkward feel in the image. Going from the top, cutting through the noses is okay. The thing with cutting through the top of the head, yet you wanna be mindful, because as viewers, we connect with eyes in pictures, so if we include the groom's eyes here, it takes away from that moment that the bride is having on the groom's shoulder. So cutting through the nose is a good cropping point.
Make sure the eyes are completely out, not like half-cropped, because I do see that a lot.
Yeah, and then make sure that the hands are...
always in the frame, don't cut through fingers, it's really really important, cutting through fingers is a no-no.
Like in this photo, wait just kidding, yeah our notes say cropping sad face, look at that hand, but I will say, and this comes back to something that came up earlier, We delivered this photo, and it is the photo they picked when we asked our clients what's your favorite photo from the wedding, or the photo that you feel best represents your wedding, they chose this one. So this goes back to, yeah have your high standards, for yourself, and aim for these things, but also allow yourself to make those mistakes, or forgive yourself for making those mistakes, and don't withhold stuff like this from the bride and groom. This moment is everything to them, they don't care that his fingers are cropped off.
Although he's into photography, and I think he might be watching this right now, and maybe I've just ruined the photo for him. (audience laughing)
And then just make sure you're always deliberate about every part of the frame, make sure that the edges, everything is relevant, it doesn't have to be 100% perfect, in camera, when we're taking the photos, but oftentimes you'll see us re-crop the images, in post production, and that's okay, the cropping tool is there for that.
So what we don't want is to be half cutting someone off on the edges, looking at all parts of the frame. There's a foot here, she's cropped off but that's okay, because we don't need her, and then there's a shadow that almost completes that body, the shadow is complete, and then on the left side that shadow is also complete, so.
Alright so that's cropping, now framing, which is the part where we get a little bit crazy. Framing is all about the relation of the subject to it's background, so in this case, making sure that the bride and groom are framed perfectly against the blank space on the dance floor.
So we touched on this a little bit earlier, with that dance floor photo, when I explained that I had to be standing on something, but also kind of crouching down, that tends to happen a lot when you're trying to get your subject to align properly with the background, is that you're the one that needs to be making those tiny adjustments. So straight on, perhaps they would be cutting into the table or the legs of the guests that you see there, but so maybe that just means you need to lift the camera a tiny bit to get them within that space. So there's tiny little adjustments happening all day long, like your thighs should probably be pretty sore at the end of the day.
Yeah, in a very symmetrical, architectural setting, here we're doing a portrait, you wanna make sure that it's a 100% perfect, so that the space behind the groom is equal to the space behind the bride in relation to--
The architecture itself, as well as on the edges of the frame, so the space all the way on the right with the candle, is the same as the space on the left with the candles. Here, it's all about spacing. So spacing all around the bride's head, with relation to the door on one side, with the pillar on the other side, and then also bringing it to the edge of the frame, with the building and the top of that building, with the sky, of those little spaces are equal to one another and that's what really creates that visual balance in the image. Same here, the amount of space on top of the hands being held together, is equal to the door, as it is equal to the bottom of the frame, and that's what creates this visual balance. It's something that a viewer who doesn't know about photography is never gonna notice, but it's gonna make for a more appealing viewing experience for them. And here again, it comes from just little adjustments, in our own body, just going a little bit more up, or a little bit more down, a little more left, a little more right, is gonna make a huge difference in how this hands connect within the image. And here cropping through the noses at the top, if we included the faces, as a viewer, you would look at their faces before looking at the hands, but cropping through the noses and not including their faces it just brings the attention straight down to the hands.
By the way this is Sarah, she was a guest at a wedding, Sarah of Sarah and Aaron from Mexico, this is the first time we met her at another wedding. So we've talked about the ceremony, and how we get into position, to nail the one shot we wanna work on in that moment, and sometimes, oftentimes actually, during the ceremony, it's just about getting the cleanest, simplest shot, to tell that one story, in this case, the story is about her, and in the context of, the best man, and her sisters, that's it. But aligning myself just right, so that nobody's cutting into one another. Her head isn't cutting into any of the people in the background, and that's just where I'm positioning myself, and then waiting for her to have a moment. It's like the simplest version of that, but it gives us the cleanest version of this moment, basically.
Yeah, and this is really the first step in the anticipation and the curve, is figure your framing out, figure out your exposure, get yourself into position, make those tiny little adjustments to your own body, so that everything frames out just right, before the curve even starts peaking, that's how the best photos are gonna come about, because your composition and your settings, all of that stuff is figured out, when the moment happens you just have to click through it. Seems so simple when you just break it down to that, so always figure out your framing before the moment happens. Here, you'll see it better, on this photo, so the amount of space in all of those parts of the image are equal to one another, and that's what really creates that visual balance, and again it goes back to, adjusting our body, you take a little step to the left, and the couple is against the railing, and that window, take a little step to the right, there's too much space between that railing and the two of them. If you tell them to get too close, that doesn't work anymore, you separate them, and then they're too far, and obviously the bike, is the one element that we don't really have control over, so just click all the way through, so that the framing is just right.
And here we go.
That's the crazy one.
So this is not a slideshow photo, it's just a photo that we delivered to the bride and groom, but the reason why it's in here, is because I remember in that moment, just going a little bit crazy in my head, and placing myself just perfectly, so that the edge of the window behind this guy, fits in just perfectly between his head and the wine glass.
Do you see that, right here, I mean.
Is it necessary?
Absolutely not, but you know, by doing this in every kind of situation, when the moment actually becomes really good and the framing is actually relevant to the photo, well your mind is doing it on a constant basis. At the same time, there's the guy in the back who's sitting on the edge of the couch, he's well-framed between the two windows. Okay, and then an example again, of just how our own body in relation to the scene, affects the way that an image is framed, so this is at--
Eye level, and then just by going down a little bit, exact same photo, everything shifts a little bit, and that creates more of that separation between the subject and the other subject in the frame.
Now to take this a step further, I would've wanted to take a tiny step back, and bring the camera a tiny bit higher, so I could then bring them back into, framed into there, instead of having his head cut off by the screen up there, do you see that, so that's a further adjustment that could be made, but the foreground and the background, obviously have a better relationship in this version, okay.
Now the good thing about framing and composition, is that you don't need to actually be taking photos to practice it. And, one way that we learned that, it was a few years ago, we both remember this moment so vividly, in our heads, we're driving home from the studio, and it was on a highway, and there's these electrical pillars and this line of trees, and every time we would pass the electrical wires, a tree would line up perfectly in between the two pillars, and we just remember going click, click, click, every time a tree would perfectly center between the electrical poles. And that's when we realized, we don't necessarily need a photo of this, but in our heads we're training ourselves to frame things just right, just by looking at you guys, I can move a little bit this way, and everything, a few people, they align themselves better, and now move a little bit this way, and it doesn't align just as well, and we do this very subconsciously on a daily basis with just everything in real life, so that when we do have to take photos, be it at a wedding, or personal, or whatever it is, our mind is already in tune and trained for framing things properly. So to demonstrate, we're gonna grab our camera, we're gonna show it on the TV exactly what it looks like. Thank you, working.
There you are.
Oh perfect. Say hi to everybody, so you know, as I was saying before, if I was just focusing on the four of you, whoops, let's drag this,
You're gonna destroy the set.
I can zoom in a little bit. So from where I'm standing, so far today, this has been my view, it's been the four of you here in the center, but Ari's always kind of blocked--
So mentally what I wanna do, is just move a little bit this way, so that everything frames up better, so you can see the four of them now. The amount of space around her head is equal on both sides. So that's what I've been doing mentally in my head. If I still look at Ari, and then try to frame him in that tripod in the background, that's something else that I've been doing mentally, in my head.
This is what's been going on in our minds, you had no idea.
And then, you know, Kenna as well, this line that's cutting through her head has been extremely frustrating for me visually, sorry no offense. (laughing) So I want her to move a little bit to her side, and I wanna move myself as well, so that everything lines up properly. And it sounds a little bit crazy, but by practicing this in my head, even while we're doing this presentation, it allows us to just practice and get better with our framing so that when we are taking photos, everything comes more naturally to us.
That's it, that's what they went through all this trouble for. (laughing)