Tutorial

Framing and Lighting

Comments

  1. The little girl's expression is beautifully captured
  2. I really like the angle of the picture with respect to the girl's face and the barn - not directly opposite and in line with the face. it makes it .... more interesting. i also think that the barn frames the face nicely and adds more element to the picture.
  3. The difference light is making to the color of the curls is highlighted well since we can also see the part in shade
  4. I am impressed with the clarity of the face even though it is in shade. usually when i take a picture (with auto mode) in the sun, it is either overexposed or too dark

My Comments

Lighting

As Dipti rightly noted, the picture makes effective use of side-lighting. Side lighting refers, of course, to light that is shone on a subjects' side (as opposed to front or back). Typically, side lighting is most effective when the sun is at a 45 degree angle to the subject. This would happen a few hours after sunrise and a few hours after sunset.

One of the qualities of the 45 degree angle is that the sun light becomes diffused and takes a golden color. This adds a lot of warmth (yellow hues add warmth to a picture) to the picture, making it lovable. So, using this type of light against a lovable child is complementary and enhances the mood.

Framing

Framing is a composition concept wherein you place the subject inside another object, and expose for the subject, thereby making the frame darker. Frames are typically achieved using doorways, windows, entrance arches, etc.

Probably all of you might have already looked at a picture that used framing effectively - the view of Taj Mahal from the entrance arch. What framing does is that it enhances the subject in the picture and draws the eye towards it. Due to the light-dark difference between the subject and the frame, the viewer's eyes are automatically drawn to the subject, which is normally placed at the center of the picture (a break from the 1/3 rule).

In this case, the photographer has used the fence as a frame, but not in its fullest sense. As Dipti and Badri pointed out, the framing is not fully symmetrical here, which is a break from the norm. The top bar is at an angle to the picture, which adds a bit of dynamism to the picture, mainly because of the subject who is looking through the fence.

Q&A

"I am impressed with the clarity of the face even though it is in shade. usually when i take a picture (with auto mode) in the sun, it is either overexposed or too dark" - Dipti.

One of the reasons why you get a picture dark in such cases is because there are two areas - a bright face and a dark fence. The camera typically uses a segmented-matrix or center-weighted matrix mechanism, which means that it averages the lightness and darkness in the picture such that it becomes equivalent to 18% gray, to which it exposes. The 18% gray is the benchmark that any camera uses to expose a film. When you shoot in partially-manual or fully-automatic mode, the camera exposes in such a way that the average light of the composition is equivalent to 18% gray. While this works in most cases, it fails in extreme conditions like beach, snow, candle light, and contrasty subjects (light and dark interspersed).

There are multiple ways you can achieve correct exposure in such cases.

Contrasty Subjects

In this case, due to the close framing of the subject, there are some dark areas (the fence bars) and light areas (the face). To ensure correct exposure, you should use spot metering in your SLR (There will normally be a buttom marked 'Spot' in your camera). What it does is that it asks the camera to ignore the averaging algorithms and to take the exposure only from the center circle of the viewfinder. Since that circle is fully on the subject, this will ensure correct exposure for the subject itself and not the fence. This will also make the fence become darker (because you have exposed for the lighter skin), but normally that will add intensity to the picture.

In most framing compositions, you should use 'Spot Metering' to ensure that the film is exposed for the subject and not averaged for the subject and the frame.

I will cover expsoure for snow and beach in a later exercise.

About the Photographer

Cristina Fumi