A place to think about composition in photography

Archive for January, 2011

View of Sana’a in Yemen framed by an arch

The urban landscape presents lots of opportunities to frame photographs.

The rooftops in Sana’a in Yemen offer many opportunities to view the historic city.

Urban Landscape of Sana'a framed by an arch

Urban Landscape of Sana'a in Yemen framed by an arch

So why frame the picture?

  • Without the frame there is an open sky which was unremarkable
  • This would make just another cityscape
  • Using the frame adds interest in itself
  • The frame also concentrates the attention on the details within the arch

Holding the viewer’s attention:

  • This frame holds the attention of the viewer because you, the viewer notice the details in the arch.
  • The arch contains the same materials as the buildings in the distance
  • This creates a connection between the two, drawing you in, making you look closer, noticing the details of the buildings
  • The distant objects are brought closer, this is why the picture works

You can find out more about sana’a from wikipedia


A different approach to framing a picture

Framing a picture is a common compositional device.

Framing places a boundary within the limits of the picture and controls the attention of the viewer.

Normally one would use an arch, doorway or a pair of trees, in the picture below I have chosen the reflective surface of the ball to contain a picture with the photograph and this makes you, the viewer look harder to try to make sense of what you see.

Framed cambridge museum IMG_5473c

Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge

The urban landscape lends itself to this type of shot.

Notice the horizon is deliberately excluded from the background.  The horizon is contained within the framed image so the background needs to be kept simple.