The Frame – a rectangle (or square) that captures the story for a food photographer.
In this assignment, your goal is to frame your next food photo. But wait… it’s not as simple as it seems.
Frame is the third element of composition.
For me - the viewer who’s looking at your photo, all I can see is the frame and what you as a food photographer chose to put inside the frame. I can only look at that one frame and try to understand the story that you as a photographer are trying to tell me. That frame is my world, in fact that’s all I know about your story.
Yes, anything that sneaked in the frame that shouldn’t have, it is because, you as a photographer gave that permission. That small corner in the back that crawled in because you let it, is now causing distraction… it’s on you – the photographer.
When it comes to composing a photo for that recipe, you as food photographer have made a choice. You have made a choice knowingly or unknowingly, to let certain objects get in the frame and leave out some objects. Just like camera angle and depth of field, this decision needs to be made consciously.
Not only what’s in the frame or outside the frame, you’ve also made a decision where to place the subject within the frame. You can decide to follow the rule of thirds and place the cake on the thirds or place it all the way to the bottom of the frame. You may choose to put it right in the middle.
You as a photographer need to make that choice.
You as a photographer may choose to show only two-third of the bowl of soup in the frame. The other one-third may be outside the frame, but you’ve made that decision too. Once again, not only what you include in the frame makes a difference, but what you chose to exclude makes a lot of difference too.
Oh.. and those drinks that you shot using a horizontal frame, that’s another decision that you made on how to frame that shot. Whether to shoot horizontally or vertically is again a decision that you should make consciously.
Let’s review all the decision related to the frame you as a food photographer need to make:
- What should be included in the frame?
- What should be excluded from the frame?
- Where should the main subject be in reference to the frame?
- Where should I place other elements in relation to the main subject?
- Should the frame be vertical or horizontal?
Depending on Day 2 and the “feeling” you want in the photo, the answer to each one of these questions is different for everyone and for every subject.
In today’s assignment, you will need to construct the frame carefully, cautiously and patiently. But before getting to the assignment…
Answer This in Comments
In last two days, when you’ve shot the photos, did you think about the frame? Did you choose horizontal frame or vertical frame for a specific reason? Did you consciously decide what to include and what to exclude?
Tell us in the comments, how you made this choice. If you unknowingly chose the frame, tell us about that in the comments. If the answer is “I don’t know” that’s fine.
Today’s Assignment Step by Step
Read the entire assignment before you pick up your camera. Estimated Time: 30 – 60 mins
If you have any questions or problems about the course, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page. Also the blue box below has some suggested reading if you'd like to know more on a certain topic. Take a look at what we have below.
In this assignment, you will make decisions about the frame and then make photos using those decisions. Let’s get started…
Step 1 – Choose the subject from your list you created on Day 2.
Step 2 – Set up the subject and the props/background you plan to use. Do not change this setting in the entire assignment.
Step 3 - Get ready to shoot the first photo. Decide how you want to orient the frame – horizontal or vertical. Which type would you use and why? If the answer is I don’t know, that’s okay. Pick one.
Step 4 – Next decide where would you like to place the subject inside the frame. You can try placing the subject on the “thirds” as defined in rule of thirds. Or you could decide to place the subject on the edge or cut a portion of the subject by pushing it outside the frame. Again, chose one placement. If you can’t decide., pick any one.
Step 5 – In step 3 & 4 you’ve made decisions about frame orientation and where to place the subject relative to the frame. Now keeping these two decisions in mind, shoot one photograph. Only one.
Step 6 – Change the frame orientation and change the placement and shoot at least 5 different photographs.
Step 7 – Post the photograph from Step 5 and the best photo from Step 6 in the lesson album in facebook group. [Important: You will need to be a group member to see the album page. Please make sure you have requested access for the Course Facebook group, without this you won't be able to see any of the lesson albums].
Step 8 – Study the photos posted in the lesson album in facebook group.
The box below contains resources to help you deep dive into this lesson. These resources are sometimes books, sometimes specific posts from our food photography blog and sometimes interviews with food photographers.
- Complete Guide on Composition and Design - Complete book that teaches you how to compose a photo based on science and art. This one book will give you a lot more to study about composition.