Framing Your Shot

I get a lot of questions from those interested in learning about photography, so I’ve decided to dedicate Monday’s to giving you some of the help you’ve been looking for. I’ll also have one day a week where I address issues for those who are already in business and want information on marketing, starting up, financing, ect. I know when I first started in this industry I asked a lot of questions and was so thankful to the people around me who gave me advice and critiqued my work. If you have a particular question, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll add it to my list of discussion topics on this blog!

Today I’m going to briefly discuss framing and composing your shot. Believe it or not, there are specific rules to photography that should be followed if you want your images to stand out and be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.


One of the first ones usually discussed with new photographers is rule of thirds. Rule of thirds are important because scientifically, humans are drawn to a specific spot in a photographic rather than dead center as some might believe. Take the example below. I’ve cut my image into thirds and  placed my subjects eyes (the focal point) on one of the intersecting lines. I use this rule most frequently when there is an element I want to add to the image, such a beautiful background that adds depth. Obviously there are times when the rule of thirds need to be broken, and it’s with practice that you learn when this is appropriate.


Some of the other strategies I use to create a unique image is to look for leading lines, patterns, and symmetry that I can work into my shot. Whenever I’m working with a client I am constantly looking for items that will add interest to their image, so that it’s not another run of the mill photograph. I love lines and patterns, and find myself looking for lines even when I drive by to check out a shooting location. Lines can lead your eyes towards your subject, giving them a greater emphasis. There are so many different types of lines. Lines that go up and down, side to side, and converge together. It’s up to you to make the decision of how to make it interact with your subject, and whether it will work or not with your overall message. With the first photograph I utilized a unique pattern on the wall of my clients home, and wanted to compose the baby further  down and  to the right, rather than dead center. I felt that the pattern added depth and helped lead the eye to the baby.In the second photograph I found the curved line around the pool to be very intriguing and helped to frame the couple as the focal point.


Over the years I’ve found that framing your image correctly is vital and adds both depth and a level of creativity that will excite your clients and make you stand out. It’s not appropriate in every image and can be done incorrectly, so it’s up to you to feel out the situation and determine whether or not it will be a distraction or an addition. I find it works best for me with couples in an embrace, but you can certainly use it for anything. It adds a level of intrigue and again leads the eye to your main focal point, much like a framed image in your home. Here are some examples of images where I used the framing method.


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* All photos are copyright Jenna Leigh Photography



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