The art of framing, or how to properly compose your photos on your smartphone

This content is courtesy of Samsung and produced by Humanoid xp

No matter what equipment you use to shoot, the framing can make all the difference and set you apart. The advantage of smartphone photography is that the device has a large screen that allows you to have a direct overview of its framing. In this new tutorial, we’ll cover basic, yet effective framing for making visually appealing and sophisticated images. You will quickly realize that it is above all a question of observation. Pay attention to the environment around you, we explain how to direct the gaze of your spectator!

Framing defines the boundaries of your image frame. It is determined by several things: the aspect ratio you choose (square 1:1, classic 3:4 or 3:2, cinema 16:9), but also by the horizontal or vertical orientation, by your angle point of view (wide angle, zoom), but above all by your point of view and the way you want to include your subject in the image. The framing is therefore not limited to a single aspect, but to several variables that can be changed to make your images evolve.

Give a notion of scale

It is not always easy to account for the grandeur of certain landscapes or places in photography. To accentuate this visual impression and make it stand out in images, you can simply wait (or add it yourself) for an element to fit into your frame. This makes this notion of scale more evident. It is then a question of adapting its composition and incorporating a building, an individual, a natural element or any other subject capable of accounting for the size and grandeur of what you see.

For the first photo, I took advantage of the arrival of this person to reflect the size of this stump and the decor that surrounds it.

The art of framing, or how to properly compose your photos with your smartphone

The bench and the person seated make it possible to better account for the size of the decoration which surrounds it, of this very imposing tree and of the distance compared to the city in the distance. It’s simple, but effective. I have also deliberately integrated the tree on the right to accentuate this scale effect.

Play with shots and depth of field

Playing with shots and depth of field is a good way to energize your images. To do this, use natural elements to position in the foreground. Then be sure to focus on the main subject. The element in the foreground, very close to you, will then be blurred and will bring a lot of depth to your image. In the following image, we could have contented ourselves with a shot of the city in the distance, without obstacles, but sometimes you have to add them voluntarily and play with them to achieve a more original framing and more attractive to the eye.

Small tip: you can use portrait mode to accentuate the blur effect of the foreground

Small tip: you can use portrait mode to accentuate the blur effect of the foreground

Same principle here, I deliberately positioned these tall grasses in the foreground, to better highlight the small boat in the distance.

Same principle here, I deliberately positioned these tall grasses in the foreground, to better highlight the small boat in the distance.

When one positions oneself simply facing one’s main subject, one often obtains flat and banal images. Moving around an element or a landscape can allow us to achieve better images and to opt for less traditional angles of view. These different points of view bring more depth to your image, as in the following example. Instead of photographing the sea and the illuminated city directly in front of me, I opted for a frame a little higher and further away. In the foreground: the edge of the path then the snow-covered open swimming pool with its lampposts which naturally bring the eye to the city and which bring more light to the general image.

The art of framing, or how to properly compose your photos with your smartphone

It is sometimes necessary to move away from things to better perceive them, in particular for the realization of photographs of landscapes. And even if you haven’t found better vantage points by walking around your subject, you will have at least taken the time to analyze it to get the best out of it.

Realize a mise en abyme (the frame within the frame)

To frame well is also to observe the landscape around you, the surrounding elements to analyze everything that could allow you to take a better photo. Sometimes, nature is enough on its own and will provide you with the necessary elements to adapt your framing. Thus, by playing on the natural settings offered by your environment, you can create beautiful mise en abyme. It sometimes takes a little time to find the right elements and the right shapes, but it is precisely a very good exercise in composition for your eye and for your future image. Do not hesitate to test several angles of view and several framings to ensure more success. Even more essential, get as close as possible to the front elements to accentuate the mise en abyme.

The art of framing, or how to properly compose your photos with your smartphone

The option of the mise en abyme, of the frame within the frame, works very well. It does, however, require you to focus in the right place by defining your main subject, whether it’s the foreground or the background. Pay close attention to this, since your smartphone may tend to focus on the foreground, whereas in this idea of ​​mise en abyme, it is often the background that you want to highlight.

Here I deliberately positioned these branches in the foreground, in order to frame the subject visible in the distance, rather than making a classic framing from the beach without a frontal element.

Here I deliberately positioned these branches in the foreground, in order to frame the subject visible in the distance, rather than making a classic framing from the beach without a frontal element.

Here I used the rounded shape of the rainbow and my ultra-wide angle to position the buildings inside.  I had to go down a few blocks to make this image and I deliberately chose this framing which better highlights the rainbow.

Here I used the rounded shape of the rainbow and my ultra-wide angle to position the buildings inside. I had to go down a few blocks to make this image and I deliberately chose this framing which better highlights the rainbow.

Follow and trail guidelines

Once again, nature is well done and it is sometimes enough to follow the natural lines that they offer us to choose its framing. The guidelines or leaks created by our environment will thus instinctively guide our eye towards a specific point or towards an element. If you recognize them, use them to do your framing, they are good markers for positioning yourself.

Here, the very visible vanishing line created between the sea and the snow naturally leads us to look at the image from the left all the way to the background on the right towards the mountains.  I could also have moved closer or shifted a little to the left to accentuate it.

Here, the very visible vanishing line created between the sea and the snow naturally leads us to look at the image from the left all the way to the background on the right towards the mountains. I could also have moved closer or shifted a little to the left to accentuate it.

Here, I'm a little far away and my angle is very wide, but the curved line quickly brings us to look at the city in the background, even if it cannot be seen very well.  This is the line of flight effect!

Here, I’m a little far away and my angle is very wide, but the curved line quickly brings us to look at the city in the background, even if it cannot be seen very well. This is the line of flight effect!

Opt for symmetry

As with our previous points, symmetry can be seen naturally in our surroundings, but you can also create it yourself and incorporate it into your framing. Again, sometimes all you need to do is move, get closer or wait for the right moment for a successful framing and composition.

Here, I waited out of the corner of my eye for these two pairs of passers-by to cross paths to achieve a symmetrical effect and bring back a little dynamism to my image.  This is not due to chance, but to a desire for framing which brings us to this final image.

Here, I waited out of the corner of my eye for these two pairs of passers-by to cross paths to achieve a symmetrical effect and bring back a little dynamism to my image. This is not due to chance, but to a desire for framing which brings us to this final image.

Water is a very good element for producing symmetrical images, in particular because its reflection allows this phenomenon to be produced naturally.  For these examples, we have not used the buildings, but if you live in the city, they are ideal for a symmetry effect, in particular thanks to their often very geometric and homogeneous construction, which we find a lot in the photography of 'architecture.

Water is a very good element for producing symmetrical images, in particular because its reflection allows this phenomenon to be produced naturally. For these examples, we have not used the buildings, but if you live in the city, they are ideal for a symmetry effect, in particular thanks to their often very geometric and homogeneous construction, which we find a lot in the photography of ‘architecture.

Finally, achieving a good framing means taking the time to observe, taking advantage of your environment, moving often around your subject to assess the best points of view, the best angle and the best way to highlight it. . It is essential not to limit yourself to a single image per subject. Try several different framings, use multiple angles and multiple aspect ratios to get better and figure out what kind of framing you like.

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