Train your eye to see the frame

Try this for half an hour and you will gain a new insight to the frame you are working with on your camera…

I have made a template of an A4 page with a square on it. Download the ‘Frame Template’ here…

Print the page out, cut out the centre of the square. Make sure you leave the black line on the page. The black line defines your working frame.

Now the fun part. Hold the page in front of your face. Keep the black line inward, toward your eyes, so you can see a defined frame. With the paper at the end of your nose you have a wide angle view of the world approximating your camera view (at about 50mm). If you hold the paper closer you get a super-wide camera view. Hold it further away you get a restricted view. The further away from your eyes you hold the paper the longer the ‘apparent’ focal length you are using.

Now imagine you are going to take a photograph. Walk around (watch where you step!). Look at the world through the frame only. You will notice after a while that you spend quite a bit of time looking at the edges of the frame. Because you cannot see any more than the frame you are looking through you find you are training your eye to work in the frame.

Working in the frame is all about what you do with your camera. However, one of the common mistakes photographers make is not checking the frame edge. Ask yourself some questions What have I included? What should exclude? Is the edge of my photo an effective use of the frame? Does the framing complement your shot or hinder it.

It is not a mistake to forget to check you frame edges – it’s negligent! The edges of your frame are a primary compositional tool. Getting them in the right place is important. Training your eye to scan around the edges to check you have the capture nicely framed helps define your shot.

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

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