Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scan the Frame

Summary: I improved the composition of my shots by taking a moment to scan the frame.

The Issue:
Old habits die hard.  When composing a shot, I usually frame the shot, move the focus point to the point of interest where I want to focus (usually the eyes), half-press the shutter then take the shot.  Although I do think about the background and the rest of the picture, I tend to do so only while thinking of the shot, before I look through the viewfinder.  The problem with that process is that I'm too focused on the point of interest and not sufficiently mindful about the rest of the picture when taking the shot.  The result is that sometimes I inadvertently leave out important elements of the picture.

For example, this shot would have looked better with our toddler's hands visible in the frame.

Sometimes, I can crop to disguise the error. Other times, I can't, or I would have to crop very tightly.

The Solution:
Awareness of the problems created by my old habits led me to take a second to scan the frame just before taking the shot.  It's not easy to resist the temptation to simply take the shot when our toddler is running around and suddenly has a great expression on his face.  But taking a moment to scan the frame improved the composition of my shots and helped me to ensure that all important elements are there.

I'm also considering getting a wider-angle zoom like the Tamron 17-50 VC if I can find a way to fit it into our budget. :)