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Tips for Better Framing in Photography

Last Updated on October 7, 2021 by PixelPluck

Framing is one of the fundamental aspects of photography. It directly influences the derived emotion and definitions from a photograph. Indeed when the framing of one’s photography is done right, then half the job is done. In this article, you will find helpful tips by a legendary photographer on How to perceive and frame your subject in Photography. Read on for tips for Better Framing in Photography.

To better understand ‘Framing in Photography,’ let’s first understand the difference between framing and composition. Framing is often confused with Composition.

Understand Framing vs Composition

Composition is exclusively what is inside the frame of the image. It defines what is the image composed of. It defines the subject and objects of the photograph. Framing is connected beyond the boundaries of the photograph. It conveys the complete story. It lets you understand what was happening at the time of composing the photograph. In conclusion, Framing presents a complete story (inside and outside the frame) while composition defines the story itself inside the photograph.

Who is Joel Meyerowitz?

Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 500 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. As a photographer, he considers himself as one who captures relationships or interactions in space. He is very conscious of what is kept and omitted in his frame or photo. For example a photograph of a kid looking at an ice cream truck, and the operator of the truck being oblivious to the kid. As observers of that photograph, we can acknowledge the relationship there, and funnily enough, not even all the subjects in the image may know of each other’s existence.

“What You Put In The Frame Determines The Photograph”

– Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz was born in New York in 1938. He began photographing in 1962. He is a “street photographer” in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, although he now works exclusively in color. You can read more about him at the end of the article.

Perceive the Chemistry in a Frame

An ordinary photographer may perhaps focus on the ice cream truck or the kid’s face or an angle that shows both the truck and the kid but not necessarily the interest in the kid’s eye. Think of taking an image for the sake of its innate beauty or attraction but not necessarily because of tension or interaction.

Choose the Right Lens

Pick up the right lens for the right genre of photography. A camera choice is secondary. You likely won’t take a Leica for wildlife photography. Just like a Nikon D850 without a telephoto lens may not allow you to truly appreciate the surroundings of street photography. The right tool for the right job is important in photography. Without the right tool, you will need a creative eye but will not be able to perform beyond the capability of the lens used. If you are a beginner and looking for a great all-around street photography lens then go for the Sigma 18-35mm Art Lens. It will greatly improve your outputs.

Outside the Frame vs Inside the Frame

What’s outside of the frame affects the things and people inside the frame. Beginner photographers sometimes tend to think that the frame is an isolated system, like a stage where there’s a play going on, oblivious of the rest of the world. But it’s not. Everything inside the frame and outside the frame is in a balanced entropy. Try throwing a ball from outside the frame onto one of the people in the frame and see how quickly the picture becomes something completely different.

Anticipating and preparing for such transformations is important, and requires being aware that the frame is just a cookie-cutter cross-section of something much, much larger. Ultimately what’s happening outside the frame influences what’s going on inside the frame.

Pull the Connections into the Frame

When you put the viewfinder up to your eye, the world continues outside the frame. So what you put in and what you leave out are what determines the meaning or potential of your photograph. But you must continue to keep in mind that there’s plenty of stuff going on off-stage and [think about] what bearing the rest of the stuff off-stage have.”

Learn from Masters of Framing

Numerous legendary photographers are masters of framing and composition. From Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Steve McCurry, and everyone in between them. Just go through their work and you will start to see things inside your frame in a holistically better way. Many contemporary photographers are excellent at framing. You can research yourself some names. Besides, this will also help you find some inspiration. Do let us know your favorite frame or Tips for Better Framing in Photography in the comments below.

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was a legendary American landscape photographer who is pioneered ‘pure photography’. He founded a group called f/64 which converged on sharp focus and the use of the full tonal range of a photograph. His unique way of framing the photographs established the fine art landscape photography genre.

ansel adams landscape framing
Ansel Adams

Link to his work: Ansel Adams

Henri Cartier Bresson

Henri Cartier Bresson was a French photographer who was famous for his humanist work in street photography. He pioneered the genre of street photography and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment. His framing and compositions are among some of the strongest and most popular artworks in photography. He was a founding member of Magnum Photos.

framing rules by henri carter bresson
Henri cartier Bresson

Link to his work: Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Robert Frank

Robert Frank was a Swiss-born photographer who migrated to America. His photography style was documentary-based and presented the outside world view of America. His framing was unique and often had genius elements of creativity.

framing tips by robert frank
Robert Frank

Link to his work: Robert Frank

Steve McCurry

Nat Geo Photographer, Steve McCurry is a modern master of framing in Photography. His artworks are some of the most shared and viewed works of photographers. He worked on many National Geographic assignments around a variety of themes. His photos always have that human element with strong composition.

Framing technique by steve mccurry
Steve McCurry

Link to his work: Steve McCurry

Joel Meyerowitz

In this insightful video, Joel Meyerowitz explains how he searches for connections between things around him and then how to frame them in photographs.

As an early advocate of color photography (mid-60’s), Meyerowitz was instrumental in changing the attitude toward the use of color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. His first book, Cape Light, is considered a classic work of color photography. Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective is his latest and one of the most inspirational photography books of all time.

Link to his work: Joel Meyerowitz


You can read more articles related to Street Photography here.
Want to Upgrade your Kit Lens for Better Photography? Read here.

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