Using the viewfinder framing up

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Experienced photographers often make a rough 'frame' shape with their hands to exclude surroundings when first looking and deciding how a scene will photograph (see Figure 2.1). Similarly, you can carry a slide mount, or a cardboard cut-out, to look through and practice ways of framing up your subject. When you come to buying a camera, it is most important to choose one which has a viewfinding system you find clear and 'comfortable' to use, especially if you wear glasses. After all, the viewfinder is a kind of magic drawing pad on which the world moves about as you point the camera - including or cropping out something here; causing an item to appear in front of, or alongside, another item there. Digital cameras have the added advantage of often allowing you to frame your pictures on the camera's inbuilt LCD screen as well as through the viewfinder.

Figure 2.1 You can practice framing a scene in several ways - using your hands, the viewfinder in the camera or the LCD screen on the back of your digital camera.
Figure 2.2 Accurate framing is essential when you are filling the frame with subjects close to the camera.

Precise and accurate viewfinder work is needed to position strong shapes close to the camera, as in Figure 2.2, to symmetrically fill up the frame. Or alternatively you might frame up your main subject off center, perhaps to relate it to another element or just to add a sense of space. With practice you will start to notice how moving the camera viewpoint a few feet left or right, or raising or lowering it, can make a big difference to the way near and distant elements in, say, a landscape appear to relate to one another. This is even more critical when you are shooting close-ups, where tiny alterations of a few centimeters often make huge changes to the picture.

The way you frame up something which is on the move across your picture also has interesting effects. You can make it seem to be entering or leaving a scene by positioning it facing either close towards or away from one side of your picture. A camera with a large, easy-to-use viewfinder will encourage you to creatively explore all these aspects of viewpoint and framing before every shot, instead of just crudely acting as an aiming device 'to get it all in'.

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100 Photography Tips

100 Photography Tips

To begin with your career in photography at the right path, you need to gather more information about it first. Gathering information would provide you guidance on the right steps that you need to take. Researching can be done through the internet, talking to professional photographers, as well as reading some books about the subject. Get all the tips from the pros within this photography ebook.

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