6 Practical Tips - Framing & Composition

This shot was interesting.  I had to move around them and shoot down to get this beautiful angle at the same time eliminating a distracting background. I absolutely love this image because its all about them.

This shot was interesting.  I had to move around them and shoot down to get this beautiful angle at the same time eliminating a distracting background. I absolutely love this image because its all about them.

If you ever get the chance to follow me on a photoshoot it's hilarious.  I'm walking around the subject, in and out, stepping away, stepping back in again.  It looks like I'm all over the place but there is a method to my madness.  I'm trying to find the 'sweet spot', the perfect frame & composition for my subject because I know that if I don't get it right it could ruin the image.  I also don't use zoom lenses so I literally have to move my body to crop in camera (cropping in Lightroom or Photoshop is something I try and avoid at all costs but that's another subject.  If you are having trouble with this you might need to read my post below on focussing issues).  

You can have the most beautiful scenery, gorgeous couple in stunning clothes but that means nothing if you can't compose their image well.  On the other hand you could have a boring backdrop and actually nail some really stunning images.  A lot of it is working with what you have and making the most of it.

There are so many things to take into consideration when composing a visually beautiful image but with practice it is possible to do well at any location.  

Things to think of:

Ben&Kara Aug18-165.jpg

Fill up your frame

Don't be afraid to get closer to your subject and fill up your frame with their gorgeousness.  It's eye-catching & timeless.  You get a dramatic image despite the background.


Literally Frame

Use what you have around you to make a frame for your subject and they then they will be the focus of your image - as they should be.


Distracting Backgrounds

This one was almost a miss.  But I managed to see the tree in the background in time and move my position so that no one was growing branches from their heads.  



Your subject is trusting you to put them in the best light, frame & angle so if its not working move either yourself or your subject.  Don't be afraid to speak up you will thank yourself later and so will they.


Off Centre Framing

I love to break the rules and put someone smack bang in the middle of a frame but when you move them to the side it creates a lot more drama.  Just remember to think about where you put the space.... it should always be in the direction they are looking.  Like above.


Shoot Through

Use what you have around you to create something interesting and unique.  Shoot through grass, branches, flowers, what ever is available.  Think outside the box.

Living in Brisbane has been a challenge with regards to locations.... interesting locations.  Its a beautiful city don't get me wrong but its not a dramatic one.  So I have learnt the art of using the background as a pastel backdrop to enhance my subject, its not really about where I am.  Would I rather amazing mountains and waterfalls and beaches on my doorstep, YES I would, but I don't have that so I work with what I have and that is amazing light, something a lot of photographers would die for.  The moral of the story, use what you have and do it really well.  Composing your subject beautifully is incredibly important and takes some skill but you can do it with practice and patience no matter where you live! Bx



Camera basics - Sunny 16 Rule

My friend Lisa taken on a medium format film camera. {London}

My friend Lisa taken on a medium format film camera. {London}

Can I just say I am NOT A CAMERA NERD.  I don't like talking about cameras and lenses and apertures.  It makes me feel all icky inside.  But I understand that sometimes I need to push myself outta my creative comfort zone and talk nerd.  Just don't expect it too much ok.

So my first SLR was such an exciting purchase for me.  FINALLY I can take some amazing photos because I have this professional camera right?  I'll be a photographer in no time! Everyone will be so jealous of my photos right? Nope.  Roll after roll of film I got back I was so disappointed. Whhhhyyyyyyy am I not getting amazing results waaaaahhhh?  *insert emoji pulling hair out while chucking tanty*

The first mistake most of us make is not realising that a new camera is going to do crap all if we don't know how to utilise the beast first.  We HAVE to first understand the relationships between Aperture/Shutterspeed/ISO and how they affect each other.  Don't worry about anything else until you get this right.  Seriously stop playing with the "scene" mode or I'll smack you.....

From DIY Photography 

From DIY Photography 

Soooooo I'm not here to teach you how to use your camera today.  I just wanted to share this cool - Sunny 16 Rule.  If you grew up with film cameras you might of heard of it or if you are a complete geek you might of but most probably wouldn't of because its really a film photography term.  BUT saying that it totally works on digital cameras too.  

Whats the point of it?  Well back in the day when everyone had film cameras they didn't have light meters like we have now.  We tend to click and look at screen, then adjust our settings.  Nothing wrong with that but it doesn't help with getting to know our equipment - you know I'm right.  Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you were a bit faster.....  didn't have to adjust your settings 5 times to get it right?   Well film photographers could do that, they knew what settings to use in different lighting situations - because they had to.  

The good news CAN do this too!  On a sunny day go outside and start with setting your ISO to 100, Shutter to 100 & Aperture to f/16.  

Have a play around with it.  See what happens if you decrease the aperture number 5 stops and increase the shutter number by the same......Its not as hard as it sounds.  Give it a go.  You'll be SO wrapped with yourself its seriously a cool exercise.  You'll be having Oprah moments I promise (ah haaaa, stay with me).

The chart you see above is not mine its from the DIY Photography site.  I recommend clicking on the link and having a read its really interesting.  He takes you through all the steps of getting a good exposure without looking at the back of your camera once.  Its a really good way to get your head around aperture/shutter/iso relationships.  

How about getting your camera out today and having a play.  Let me know how you go.


If there was only one thing...



That I wish I had used earlier, that I'd taken the time to learn.  Something that  you might think is really basic but actually when you are in the rhythm of a photoshoot you can quickly forget to use and regret it later.  But if you use it consistently it becomes part of your routine and you don’t even think about it

Something technical… snore… zzzz

Bare with me all you creatives....

But seriously though, there are some things that can really affect your photography and make you feel frustrated, this is one of them.  Remember that session you felt like you nailed and then you get home, upload your images onto lightroom and BOOM realise your focus was off……..  not creatively off, not emotionally off, but technically off.  Literally your focus wasn’t good.  Photo after beautiful photo you have to trash because they can’t be used.  

Be deliberate in your focussing and nail the shot and your framing first time.

Be deliberate in your focussing and nail the shot and your framing first time.

The answer?  I was like so many... focussing and recomposing for every shot. Every shot. 

Fixing this issue is as simple as setting the AF Points manually or “Auto Focus Points” (not to be confused with Manual Focus, very different) every single time you take a shot.  

If you are not sure what I mean watch this Youtube video (this guy is hilarious and slightly passive aggressive but totally speaks my language) he describes the issues with "focus and recompose" really well. 

It's good to refresh your memory sometimes 

It's good to refresh your memory sometimes 

When I talk about focus I don't mean crisp obvious-everything-in-focus-boring kinda focus, I mean deliberate choices even at a shallow depth of field.  See opening image, it's not crisp and all in focus (boring) thats because I deliberately focussed on her fringe knowing that it would soften the whole image leaving a really dreamy 'painterly' image.  The focal choice needs to make sense for the image to work. You're with me I can feel it.

My camera has the button on the back, I have my finger on it the whole time I am shooting my subject, when I move the subject or myself I adjust the AF point.  Simple and doesn't slow me down because I've perfected it.  Give it time and you'll feel the same.

I used to keep my focal point in the middle of the lens thinking that I could focus and then move my camera to frame the shot…..  sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  It's like sometimes I put darks in my wash and it's fine and other times everything comes out grey.  You can leave it to luck and hope for the best or you can nail 99% of your images by learning how to work this small step into your routine.  

My advice to you you would be to dig up that manual now, sit down with a cuppa and get focussed……….  it'll be worth it trust me.

Britt x