A place to think about composition in photography

Posts tagged “framing

Tree Shadows

We were staying with some friends in London.  I like London a lot.  I first came here when I was ten, on a school trip and my love for this city has never left me.  I am always impressed by the quiet spaces  and secret places that London preserves to insulate us from the noise and rush of the city.

One sunny morning I spent some time in quiet contemplation on the balcony.  I was looking at the London skyline and watching the jets glide overhead, wondering where all those people were coming from and going to.  Then I looked down.

I didn’t have my ‘proper’ camera to hand, so out came my trusty iPhone again.  A quick dust of the lens and I had this picture.

tree shadows

tree shadows

Threes are often quoted as a pleasing number for composing pictures.  I do have an iconoclastic streak when it comes to rules, but in this case I’ll go along with that.  Especially when it helps to be playful with the language.

This works for me.  I hope it works for you too.


Mixed verticals and strong lead in lines

See what you make of this one.



The first thing you notice is the shape of the trees emphasised by the repeating pattern

Then the strong lead in lines capture the eye.

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.