Before I launch into my first Simple Tips post, I want to quickly explain why I decided to add a weekly post to my often neglected blog.

The truth is, posting images of my most recent sessions is boring to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love working with people to take memorable and beautiful images but the blogging part of it is not something I am chomping at the bit to accomplish.  However, something I do love is sharing what I know about photography with clients, hobbyists, and those just getting into the craft.  So, I thought I would start doing what I love more and what sucks the life out of me, less.

The majority of my clients ask how they can improve their images and I always wish I had more time to share with them the simple tips and techniques that they can learn to give their images more spark.  Now, I certainly don’t know even a quarter of what there is to learn about this vast subject of photography, but I have put in a good twenty years learning all I can,  and it would be a crime not to pass some of that knowledge on to the bewildered and frustrated camera enthusiasts that I so often talk to .

So, without further  hullabaloo…

A simple compositional element that you can add to your images to give them more impact is (drum roll, please) to frame your subject.

I recently went on a photo-learning outing with my  delightful babysitter, Kari.  While taking her picture, I made a purposeful effort to frame her within the brightly lit leaves behind her. The sun was behind the leaves which caused them to glow a vibrant green shade.  The difference in color and light made the foliage frame even more obvious.  If I had taken the picture with the sun in front or to the side of my subject the bright leaves would have blended in with the background greenery, lessening the visual impact.

Nature offers tons of framing elements from the branches and leaves of trees, to puffy-white clouds in a blue sky.  Keep an eye out for how you can use light and colors to your advantage when framing with natural elements.

Don’t limit yourself to nature, as man-made architecture can also be used to frame your subject perfectly.  Yes, there is the obvious window and door frames, but you could also use curves and arches of walls.  If  in a big city; you could use the towering lines of skyscrapers, or if in your own home you could experiment with the spaces between your fence posts or chair backs.

I have shown some pretty obvious uses of natural and man-made frames.  Next time you are out with your camera challenge your self to find some obvious and not so obvious ways to frame your subject.  I would love to see the images you capture!

What can you work on to improve your own images?  Try putting these practical tips into your pictures this week:

  • Look for ways to use light and colors to frame your subject.
  • Get creative in finding framing elements in nature.
  • Go beyond the obvious door and window frames to find more subtle use of framing in architicutre.

Now go grab your camera, and learn to love taking pictures!


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