Frame the Subject and Establish Balance when Photographing Dogs - dummies

Frame the Subject and Establish Balance when Photographing Dogs

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

A viewer has a lot of places to look within a photograph. When you want to put some extra power behind drawing your viewer to the dog you’re photographing, you can use a technique called compositional framing. It’s kind of like superimposing a gigantic, flashing neon arrow onto your photo (but a lot more clever and way less totally 80s).

Here’s how it works: You find something that’s in your environment, whether you’re indoors or out, to act as a frame for your subject. Placing the subject inside a natural frame adds weight to the subject and draws the viewer’s eyes right to it.

Here, the photographer was shooting Emma and her mom standing in a gazebo and used the railings to perfectly frame them both. Inside, you can use things like doorways (also known as doorframes), fireplaces, and staircases. You can use tree branches and leaves to frame outdoor scenes.


24mm, 1/124 sec., f/5.6, 320

Visually speaking, balance is bliss. When you’re photographing, your goal is to create images that keep your viewer’s attention for as long as possible. Having good balance encourages that. In basic terms, balance means that, from top to bottom and/or left to right, your image possesses elements of equal weight, otherwise known as symmetry.

Sometimes, you’re not able (or don’t want) to achieve symmetry, so you can use the informal balance technique. In this technique, you find something just as interesting (even though it’s not the same size or shape) to place on the opposite side of your subject.

Mac running alongside the pool uses symmetry to the max. Not only do the two trees on his left and right balance the scene, but the pool reflection adds even more balance to the top and bottom of the image.


25mm, 1/640 sec., f/3.5, 100