Thoughts on Framing and Space
As you look through you viewfinder, consider what you see to be your canvas. Everything within that frame (or on your canvas) plays a part in the overall shot.
Taking this approach can help you to pay closer attention to what you are including (besides you main subject matter) and how you are arranging all of it within your image. Being more deliberate with the various elements in your frame will improve your work tremendously.
When we approach our photography like this, we become photographic artists and our work reflects that. As you decide what to include in your photographic frame, you must choose whether to fill your frame with subject matter or keep it sparse and simple. Just because you’ve got a lot going on in your everyday life doesn’t mean every photo has to include it all. Sometimes keeping it simple can make for the most effective shots; shots that distill a specific moment and focus on exactly what matters most. It can be as simple as changing your angle or perspective as you frame your shot, and it’s another way to get out of snapshot mode while tapping into your creativity.
Usually the shapes within our images are quite simply defined by our subject matter- the round shape of our child’s head or the square shape of the cereal box, for example. Once you begin to identify the shapes within your frame, it’s then time to decide how to place those shapes. Dividing your frame up using the subject matter can then create other shapes in the frame.
The main subject of your image usually defines the positive space while the other parts (the background, for example) are considered the negative space. Being mindful of both the positive space and the negative space and how they work together can improve your overall image. Often the way you know if they are working well together is a simple gut instinct. We often know what works just in how we react to or feel about an image.
Editor’s note: This selection is excerpted from Tracey’s recent book Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood.