Tricks of the Trade: Framing the Perfect Shot / by Angela Fortin Washington

This question comes up a lot,

"How do I frame shots?" Well, I am here to say, unfortunately  as it is the case in any art form, there is no technically correct answer to this. What I can offer, is my perspective and what has been working for me.  The one place I always tell people to start is to look at a group of photos you think are really great, whether it be on Pinterest, or some of your own, then try to find similarities. Most of the time, people can tell what a good photo is, but they can't always tell you why..but figuring this out is the key to going from "Oh that was a happy accident" to, "Wow, all of these look great, AND I know why!". So let me mention just a few factors when framing the perfect shot.


This is one of my favorite things to play with when finding a great spot for photos. Lines just means their are things in the photo that point or lead to what you want the subject to be. Here is an example -------> 


How to frame a shot.jpg

In art school, they teach you that good composition should have a certain flow to it..meaning lines, colors, and shapes should be leading your eye around the picture. The black and white photo above is a great example of this because the fence leads you to the couple and the groom's arm and leg lead your eye down to the dress and then the shadows of the fence lead you back up to the couple... just perfect. 


Horizon lines & Distracting Backgrounds

When I am looking through my camera, something I always look for is where the horizon line is in comparison to the top of my subjects head is. Lining up the top of their head with the horizon line (or really any harsh line) creates a tension that I personally don't like. If you notice your subject's head is lined up with the horizon line, try getting a little lower or a little higher with your camera to break that; this also helps your subject pop out from the background and make them the main focus of the image.  In the image below, I used the trees and the opening to create contrast and frame out my clients, and I love the result!

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When your subjects are  surrounded by a cluttered or busy space, I will look for an angle or background that will give them contrast to help them stand out whether it be positioning a light haired person in front of something dark, or finding the small space where nothing is behind them that will take away from them. **Biggest Pet Peeve-when it looks like a tree is growing out of someone's head because they are perfectly lined up in front one** 


Tell A Story

Telling a story involves many things, but for now, I am going to mention two: sub-plot & context (setting). Our job as a photographer is to not only capture one thing that is happening but often, it is a better photo to capture the story around what is happening, here is what I mean: The photo below would still be great if I just cropped the bride dancing, but the better shot is to have the bride dancing and everyone's reaction to the bride dancing..because it tells more of the story.


Getting the sub-story can be just as awesome as the main one.. The first shot I love because, the main story is, the bride and groom are saying their vows, the sub-story is the reaction of the parents as they see their daughter say her vows. I hope this is making sense. The second photo I got from Katelyn James Blog and I love the way she framed this shot. Context is why this shot is great, it tells more of the story seeing the dresses because it gives you a context for the place and feel of the day.

Photo credit: Katelyn James

Photo credit: Katelyn James

I will leave you all with these three tips and hopefully they will help and inspire you! Have a great Friday! I know I will enjoy my weekend off!

How to Rock Your Engagement Session Tips & Tricks!

Planning a wedding can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Let this photoshoot be something you really just enjoy together and let's have some fun! Here are my best tips and tricks to making your engagement photoshoot the best it can be.

Brittany & Andrew's Chilly Walk Through Scioto Audubon Park (engagement)

We may have ended the session with frozen fingers, but it wasn't due to the lack of warmth between these two people. Since they booked over the phone, the Audubon Park was the first place we all actually got to meet. Right away I felt an ease with them, I loved Brittany's choice to wear a red dress (especially in March with everything not quite blooming and still frosted from winter) and I could tell they had so much respect for one another. When I asked them what they love about their relationship, they both said they appreciated the other's loyalty. We started off our session with a little something to keep them warm, my favorite, tea by the water.

A Kitty Lover's Engagement at Rockmill Brewery & Home

It's not too often I get the request to capture cat families, but when Kristin & Harmon invited me to their home to start their session with their five (yes, five) kitties, I was in for the adventure. These two have a unique kind of love and style that makes them so much fun to hang out with. Anytime a couple is comfortable with each other, it makes my job so easy..they laugh like I'm not there and don't shy away from snuggling up in front of the camera. I was expecting the cats, but what I didn't know was Kristin had set up an whole studio for us to shoot in their basement-eccentric and very them..and it was perfect. The more you get into personalizing your session, the more comfortable you are and the more personal the images feel.