Tiny Traveler Photography 101: Framing!

In our last lesson, we discussed focus, aperture, and how to work with your background. Today, we’re going to talk about the where aspect, called framing!

Framing a photograph is about making sure your photo is aesthetically pleasing and that you are drawing your viewer’s eye where you want it to go! Here are some ways to frame yourself so that you and the place you’re photographing can share the spotlight to great effect!


Framing with the Rule of Thirds

In 1797, English painter John “Antiquity” Smith coined a new phrase called the Rule of Thirds to apply to painting. He said that elements of a painting—the sky, a tree trunk, even lighting—looked the best when they ended at certain points that divided a frame into thirds up and sideways.

Today, Antiquity Smith’s guidelines are most often applied as four lines running up and across your frame. Since you, the tiny traveler, are already the focal point by default, you’ll get your best photos by positioning yourself at an intersection of two these lines!

In the above photo, there are very clear points of focus: where I’m standing, and the vast expanse of the glacier in the background. (Can you guess what f-stop I used?)

Compare the photo above with one of my earlier photos. Where is the focus? What is drawing the eye? Where the heck am I? Who knows?!

Of course, you don’t have to be exactly at the intersection of two lines, but if you’re positioned along one of them, your photo is going to turn out much better than if you didn’t at all!

This works for selfies too!


Framing with Triangles

Another way to work on framing your photo is to find triangles connecting your focal points. This is a great way to ensure balance in your photo! They can be set objects, or a receding horizon, or even the direction of light! Here are some examples!

You can even find ways to capture more than one triangle in your photo!

And you can do this with selfies too!


Sizing Yourself

Photography gives us tiny travelers an opportunity to be big for a change! Of course, how big you are in the frame is totally up to you. Do you add to the background, or does the background complement you? You can experiment with this sort of framing by getting closer to, or further from, the camera. You can be as tall as a building:

Or you can step aside and present a far greater tapestry!

Just don’t go too far, or no one will know you’ve been there at all!

Ultimately, how you frame your photo depends on the story you want to tell. On my adventures, I usually play a small role in a greater landscape and a larger role when focusing on a detail like a building or neat plant! Of course, getting out in the world and wilderness means having to face the elements, but don’t worry! I’ll teach you how to battle them in our next session.

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