MY FIVE Fs SYSTEM: NUMBER THREE, FRAMING

My “5 Fs” (finding, figuring, framing, focusing and firing) was conceived to help photographers remember the things to consider when photographing a subject in real life situations. If you practice this system it will become your working technique as a street photographer.

The third “F” is FRAMING.

Framing is the action of putting all the elements, factors and details together in a way that gives the center of interest its most strength. Framing is dictated by the second “F”, which is figuring.

Framing really is the act of putting it all together for the finished photograph.

Someone once said that there is no composition, only facts. For me, this concept makes framing much easier. I do not learn much from the word composition and how it applies to an effective photograph. I do not get a mental picture of anything from the word composition. Noticing and using these facts, or details that are always present in the subject area, is a method that I use to arrive at an effective photograph.

The subject can only be framed precisely if the camera’s viewfinder covers 100% of the desired subject, including the effective use of all the details. Many cameras only show about 95%, which means that the image will contain 5% more in the photograph than the photographer intended, so the image must be cropped later in the printing process if using film, or digitally if using a digital camera. I do not like to crop so I try to be very careful framing the shot. That’s why I prefer the Nikon F-3 which shows 100% in the viewfinder.

The object is always to get as close as possible to the center of interest. Getting in close is one of the biggest challenges in social documentary, or street photography. Remember that the photograph is always for others to enjoy and learn from. One way to get in close, but still use important details, is to use only a part of each detail.

For example in the color photo below, I can be seen in action, getting in close and using a vertical format to include the details that I desired in the photograph. I intentionally framed the photo to not show the man’s head, so that I could move closer to the center of interest which is the hand and cane. The boats in the background are out of focus, which places more emphasis on the hand, cane and clothing. john free in action, street photography tips, nikon

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