Welcome back! I hope you’re learning a lot about your camera and composition, and that you’re putting it to good use creating awesome kids’ photos. Today we’re going to talk about framing – not what you do when you hang a photo – but what you can do within the shot to make it more compelling.
Adding natural frames to a kids’ photo serves a few purposes, it can help give context to a photo (where it was taken, what was happening), it adds depth, and it helps to give your focal point more prominence. In a kid’s portrait, the focal point will typically be the head or eyes, or in an action or full-body image it can be their whole self.
Don’t be confused by the word “natural” either; all it means is that the frame is occurring within your photo, rather than outside of it. Natural frames could be anything – branches, an archway, a window frame, a doorway, some fence posts, the horizon, etc. They don’t have to be straight either; all they need to do is provide a type of visual barrier that keeps your viewer’s eye inside the photo, even if it’s just on one side. This can be very useful in situations where there is a lot of “business” going on in an image, as it serves to keep the focus on your child rather than roaming around the image.
Still not sure how to use natural frames with your kid’s portrait photos? Here are a few examples to give you some inspiration:
Exercise: The next time you are out with your kids, try incorporating natural frames into your kid’s photos, even if it’s simply the chains on a swing or the vertical lines on a slide. Look for unique opportunities to shoot “through” things to create frames: such as tree branches or the slats of a fence. Do your images look more powerful? Does including natural frames make for better kids’ photography or portrait images? We hope it does!
Remember that you want to use natural frames alongside other composition tips: having a focal point, rule of thirds, etc. – the more of these kid’s photo basics you utilize successfully, the more memorable your images will be.