“Your frame is your canvas.“


The film site Videomaker.com just released a video about composition, and though the video is mostly directed toward filmmaking and talked lightly about how to enhance a story, photographers can definitely take something away from it.  To quote from the video: “The rules of composition hold true for film, painting, and still images a like.”

Composition is the art of arranging objects in the frame.  The video provides six rules to help us ace that arrangement.  It goes into depth for each, but here is a brief summary:

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Aspect Ratio: The ratio of horizontal to vertical dimensions of an image. It’s about knowing the size of the frame you’ll be working in.

Rule of Thirds:  Dividing the screen into thirds with four lines (2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines) and placing your objects of interest at the intersections.

Framing: Positioning your subject in the appropriate position; keeping the eyes in focus.

Balance: Balancing your frame to achieve a harmony, or keeping it unbalanced to create tension. The objects being balanced do not have to be symmetrical.

Leading Lines:  Creating imaginary lines in your shot that lead the eye to your object of focus.

Depth of Field: Determining area that is in focus, allowing the viewer to emphasis or deempahize certain aspects of the frame. Shallow depth of field= few things are in focus. Deep depth of field= everything is in focus.

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Great shot. Silly sweater.

This is a quick and easy watch and offers plenty of information for those trying to improve the look of their next project.  The examples from such classic movies as Blade Runner, The Shining, and 2001: A Space Odyssey make it easy to understand.  It’s part of a full course called “basic shooting” that the website offers for those interested.

This reminded me of another youtube channel called Every Frame A Painting.  They’ve retired from making videos but there is a nice little collections for those looking to understand the art of filmmaking.

Cover Photo by Khaled Reese.