Mark Bunting Photography | Getting Started - #2 - Fill the Frame

Getting Started - #2 - Fill the Frame

April 28, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Inquisitive Cow, near the Offords, Cambridgeshire

(Nikon D750 & 28 to 300 mm f3.5 to 5.6 lens - Lens at 34 mm / 1/500th / f3.8 / ISO 110)


Getting Started - #2 -  Fill the Frame


The single most important thing about taking a 'good' picture is seeing it with your eye.


If you don't see it, you won't take the photograph.


If you do see it, you might - just might - be able to photograph it and do it justice.  


And if you follow a few guidelines, your pictures will improve dramatically.


Fill the Frame - Because Your Brain is much cleverer than your Camera


Your eye is a fantastic piece of engineering - and the processor that converts the image in your brain is world-class.  No modern computer comes close. (Yet!)  So you have to be aware of how clever your eye & brain are, compared to your camera.


The brain will focus its attention on one part of the picture.  So, on a beach there is a marvellous sand-castle in the distance.  The brain will focus your attention on the sand-castle.


In a garden, you look at all the marvellous trees and bushes and your brain focuses on a lovely bush.


Uncle Bill & Aunty Mabel are standing some distance away along an empty street.  Your brain will focus on Uncle Bill & Aunty Mabel.


But your camera is not so clever.  It does not know what is holding your interest in the scene.


And, most of us take the shot which turns out to be:


A large expanse of beach with a very small sand-castle in the distance.


A garden with a confusing collection of trees and bushes.


A mostly empty street with two people in the middle distance.


And none of those are the pictures we saw with our brain - nor are they the pictures we wanted.


The advice we need to follow is:


If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough - Robert Capa.


So, we need to walk up to the sand-castle, get it to fill the viewfinder and then take the snap.


(And, to add another degree of complexity, we might even get down low to give us an unusual viewing angle, instead of the 'just another shot taken at head height' - but let's not get too complicated, for the moment concentrate on 'fill the frame'.) 


We need to walk up to the particular bush in the garden, get it to fill the viewfinder and then take the snap.


We need to walk up to Uncle Bill and Aunty Mabel, ask them politely if we can take their photograph, and then fill the viewfinder with a nice 'head & shoulders' shot of Bill & Mabel.


So our feet need to help our camera 'see' like our brain - and we use our feet to get up close to the subject of interest - get it to fill the viewfinder and then take the snap.


Of course, as digital 'film' is free you can take 2 or 3 or however many shots, and maybe even move slightly from shot to shot to get a different viewpoint - but the most imporant point is to fill the frame.


And I will let you use 'zoom' to get closer and to fill the frame - but only if you can't get any closer using your feet.  Learn to 'zoom' - ie get closer - using your feet.  It is a good technique to master.


So, learn to 'fill the frame' and see if you like the result.


(And google 'Robert Capa' to learn more about this great photographer.)


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