Photography Composition #1: Fill the Frame

Pink flower, showing photography composition#1: Fill the Frame


Photography Composition

I’ve been asked to give a presentation for my camera club, Happy Snappers on Photography Composition next Tuesday. I remember doing something similar at my previous club, but I have no idea where my notes are.  So here I am, starting from scratch…Probably a good thing, it will keep it fresh, I hope.

There are many different tips for helping you create more interesting pictures, but I wouldn’t get too caught up in the rules. We are all individuals and see things differently. What’s important is that your picture says what you want it to say. Are you fascinated by the hundreds of poppies dotting the cornfield, or does an individual flower appeal to you more?

There is nothing to stop you experimenting until you find what interests or moves you most. Here’s a tip for if you really want to draw attention to one specific item.

Photography Composition#1: Fill the Frame

So what does “Fill the Frame” mean exactly? It’s straightforward really. You are trying to focus attention on a particular subject, so you need to get rid of all the clutter. So you will leave as little space as possible around your main subject. You can do that by using a long-range lens to zoom in or getting up close with a macro lens. Maybe change your point of view, like lying down on the ground instead of standing. Or you could crop an existing photograph down to size. And in post-processing, it’s important to get rid of any distractions.

If you look at the photographs, you’ll see that I’ve tried to fill the whole frame with the subject, the thing I want the viewer to focus on. Anything extra would have spoiled the impact, I think.

The Pink photograph ( See above ) was shot using a macro lens because I knew I wanted a close-up shot, focused on the centre of the flower. I still ended up having to crop around the edges, but that was okay because the image was sharp where it needed to be. In post-processing, I cloned out tiny dirt spots because they would interfere with the beauty I was trying to show.


Other Examples



Reflections on the water, blue, clack and white. Illustration for poem " Dark Vision.


The frame is filled with the rippling reflections in the water because that was the sole subject matter for this shot. It’s great doing reflection shots, the ripples keep redesigning art straight in front of you.



For this image, I cropped out part of her head and about half the fan, because I wanted to draw attention to her eyes behind the fan. The idea was to create mystery, what secrets is she hiding? What are the stories on the fan?


Crocus Sunset

Crocus at sunset, image foe Ten Favourite Inspirational Quotes by Bernie Delaney

I shot this lying in the mud so I could almost feel what it was like to be a crocus, what the flower would see at sunset. Sometimes it’s good to let your imagination run wild.



A piece of wire symbolising a trapped hand

The subject is the juxtaposition of the wires, which look like a hand trying to break free. This was a labour of love, it took me ages to get the composition right, lots of trial and error.



Shot with a zoom lens, the subject is the colours, shapes and shadows on the wall. I cropped out a larger window on the right as it didn’t add anything to the image.


Mother and Foal

As far as I remember, this was shot with a zoom lens. I wanted to emphasize the connection between mother and foal, which was the subject matter. Animals are great to photograph, the poses will always be natural.



I hope you found this photography composition tip useful. If you have any queries, I’d be happy to help. I mean it 🙂

You can see some of these images, including Pink, on Flickr.


  • Nadine

    Bernie… these are just beautiful! I so loved seeing these lined up in WP reader yesterday, was like a breath of fresh air in the feed! You really are a talented photographer. They are all stunning but I love that one of the woman with the fan especially… that calls to me somehow… I loved hearing that the barbed wire one was a true labour of love, fascinating, and made me appreciate it even more. As a reader I would similarly love to hear just a line or few (like the barbed wire one, and the horse one which is also gorgeous btw) about the process the one of the lady with the fan… who was your subject, how did it come about etc… anyway great stuff. I like this blogging subject on you. 🙂 xoxo

    • admin

      Ah, thank you Nadine!
      I had a look back at the post and added in a bit more detail…You are right, it needed more.
      I’ll do some in depth posts later on, I can start
      with the fan lady 🙂 It’s actually a personal favourite of mine, a kind of “Everywoman” thing.
      Do you do much photography?

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