Framing & Composition


Today we will be using DSLRs to experiment with composition.
Working in a team of about 3 you should create photographic images that demonstrate your understanding of shot conventions.


Technique: Undershot

This shot is not often used & when it is, one of the primary functions is to convey a position of power to the subject.
In this instance, because of the position of the body & softness of expression, in this instance one would expect it to be part of a sequence intended to draw the audience into the subjects point of view or mind-frame.
The open sky in the top left third of the image works with the lighting in a way that suggests we may be moving from a negative to a positive emotional charge.

Principles: Rule of Thirds & Leading Lines

Using a low angle with only a partial subject in the foreground forces the observer to take a wider view of the image.
The lines of the buildings and pavings lead the eye from the bottom left “grid” intersection to the top right third which shows a whole subject situated in a long shot.
As a result, one must consider the relationship between the two subjects even though one is obscured. This technique would be useful for building tension in a scene.

Technique: Extreme Closeup

Despite showing a very small area, this image has surprising depth. The detail shown is more than one would normally notice with the naked eye, while the subtle reflection in the iris suggests that there is some meaning to the direction in which the subject is looking.
This could be an effective set-up to make good use of the Kuleshov Effect.

Technique: High Angle Shot

The angle is traditionally used to make the subject appear vulnerable, even if they fill a significant amount of the frame.
The sense of fun conjured by the poses and especially the unexpected photo-bomb by Charlotte therefore plays in contrast to our usual expectations. Perhaps, like in films such as Girls With Balls (2018), this is a set up for a dramatic change in fortunes?

Going Deeper

More of the shots we were asked to capture, along with exemplary texts which make them much easier to visualise in a potential context.


It’s easy to get carried away discussing beautifully shot moments in texts but that is due in no small part to the considerable power of an appropriately composed image. It also becomes clear that a firm grasp of these principles is key to being able to produce the kind of work that people discuss as per the examples above.

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