Photography Composition Articles


>Golden Mean
>Color and
Image Balance



Don't Amputate

Another rule (that is often successfully broken) is the one about where to place the frame of the image. It is usually good to not cut off the subject's head, as the eyes are often the most important part of that head. But it is equally important to not amputate at a joint. If you can't get the whole subject in the frame, or if you are concentrating on just a part of the subject, pay attention to the edges.
Oops, I cut off one of his feet.
OK, this is better, all of the foal is included in the frame, but now that I look around, the adult horse in the background is a distraction.
This is the better of the three - the foal is not an amputee and there is no distracting background.

This amputation rule also applies if part of the subject is the shadow. It is not always possible to zero in on the subject and its entire shadow, but when you can do it, it can be dramatic.
Sage and Tracks
A new spring sprig of sage brush in the early morning light makes a nice contrast to the tracks of the critters who stopped to rest.
Amputated shadow
The amputated shadow and distracting background make this one a throw-away.

Intact shadow
Here the shadow is intact and there is no dark or light spots in the background to distract the eye.
Back to Composition Refresher Wild Things Photography

Published with the permission of the author. Original article can be found here:


    © 2003-2013