Week 15 - Fill the frame to improve your photography

One of the easiest ways to improve a photo is by getting close and filling the frame. Do you remember the hero shot of Week 1? We discussed the importance of finding one thing in your photo that you make the hero. This week, we will fill the frame with it. 

If you are clear about identifying a single subject and then fill the frame with it, you will have solved most of your composition problems.

Last week I was walking past wildflowers on the side of the road. The brilliant purple caught my eye, and I had to grab a quick shot -- or two. From a distance, there is no impact. I just show a cluster of tiny flowers. None stands out. No detail is recognizable. 

Before - From too far away there is no clear subject.  

How do you fix that? Pick one, get close, and fill the frame with it. Now I have a clear focal point. I have several flowers in the background to communicate that this is part of a larger group.

After - Fill the frame with one flower for greater impact. 

This is a technique that works with just about anything or anyone. If you are photographing your friends or kids, get in close and fill the frame with their faces. If you are traveling and decide to capture a building, fill the frame with it. Does a detail on the monument grab your interest? Zoom in, and fill the frame.

If you are photographing your child’s recital, move to the front of the room. You always want to be as close as you can, so you can fill the frame.

Zoom with your lens or with your feet. Maybe you do both. As long as the end result is -- say it with me -- filling the frame.

What you won’t do is use the digital zoom. That basically crops, not zooms. When the camera enlarges the image and crops it smaller, you lose quality. The picture can look blurry. If you need to crop, wait until you download the image and view it on your computer screen.


The Challenge

Pick a subject and fill the frame. You might even try your own before and after sequence. Show us how the photo looked when you first considered the shot and later when you filled the frame.


Share your images with us

Once you have a great photo, post it in the comments here or tag it #composition21 when you post it on Twitter or Flickr. Note: Just post the link to your photo, and the system will generate your preview icon.


Join the Composition Challenge

Sign up to join the 21-Week Composition Challenge. Every week, I'll deliver a photo challenge by email for you to shoot and share. Learn more about it or sign up below.

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