For Better Photos Give Them Room to Move


I would like to address framing as it relates to the presence of people or animals in a photo. Because my art is centered on landscape and nature photography, primarily, I will be referring to animals. The presence of humans in the image should receive the same attention. When photographing wildlife, there is an inclination to focus on the subject. This leads to the tendency by many photographers to center that animal in the center frame of the photo. Unfortunately this creates a static image. Static images are usually uninteresting. One glaring exception is the close-up, where the subject fills the frame.
Creatures are either moving from place to place looking for their the next meal or mate. Rarely are they quietly contemplating their existence or worrying about the way their lives are going.
So. with that in mind, the creature should be moving toward something or watching for something.
In the example below the bird is in flight. Yes that is a bird. I would love to say that I waited patiently for the cormorant, the bird in the photo, to appear, but it was a just luck. But there he is winging his way across Lake Tarpon in Florida. The space in front of the bird gives it freedom to move through the image.

Lake Tarpon at Dawn
Lake Tarpon at Dawn

Now in the image below, I gave the alligator lying on the log an area that it could be gazing into and watching for its next meal. Or it could just be sunning itself, it is after all a cold blooded creature.
Framing with space in front of the gator gives it somewhere to look.

alligator sunning on a log
Alligator sunning on a log

There is an interesting story to go along with this photo. My focus was on the image below. Having set up my tripod, I had shot several exposures. I packed up and moved a little further down the trail. Minutes later returning, a passerby asked me if I saw the gator. It had been not more than 15 feet from me the whole time.

Reflection on the Hillsborough River
Reflection on the Hillsborough River

It’s always good to be aware of your surroundings. I briefly forgot, but you can bet that I am more cautious now.

About Gregory Colvin

Gregory Colvin Photography

“Inspiration for my art is found in the natural world. Being in the midst of nature is a tranquil and revitalizing experience. Early morning and late afternoon light paints the landscape with a soft glow, fog and mist create an air of mystery. Sunbeams streaming through the tree branches craft portals of mystic radiance. Reflections on lakes and streams produce a picturesque spectacle. Using the camera as a paintbrush, I attempt to recreate these visual sensations and share them with others. My mission is to share a love of the earth and a desire to protect it.”


U.S. Federal Government-F CCPAC Art Project- Seven pieces for new building in Orlando, Florida
ArtBuzz, The 2010 Collection- 1st Place for Photography –juried art book
Tampa Bay Business Journal- Book of Lists 2010- Artist- Chosen for the collection
Tampa Bay Business Journal- Book of Lists 2008- Artist-Chosen for the collection.
Manatee Art Festival-Honorable Mention-Photography Division Crystal River, Florida
Upper Tampa Bay Library Westchase Florida- Four pieces purchased by the Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Library Art Committee and displayed in the newly completed library.
Tampa General Hospital- two pieces placed in the permanent collection for the new addition to the hospital.
“Make a Habitat of Art”- Habitat for Humanity Juried Silent Auction Fund Raiser – Two pieces accepted for auction
Keystone Civic Association Brochure- photography included in the permanent brochure, Keystone/Odessa
ArtBuzz, The Book- 2008 Collection- Juried art book created for collectors and art galleries internationally.
Hilton Hotels Homewood Suites- 5325 Avion Park Drive, Tampa Florida- Purchased for art collection.

Juried Art Shows and Exhibits

Naples Museum of Art 2009 “Florida Contemporary Exhibition” May-June 2009
Nancy Jacey Gallery- “Treasures of Perception” Show – September 2008
Nancy Jacey Gallery- “Art at the Speed of Light” Show- June 2008
Fifth Ave. Gallery-“100% Pure Florida” Melbourne Florida
Tarpon Springs 33rd Annual Art Festival- Tarpon Springs Florida-2007
Boca Raton Museum Fine Art Show- Boca Raton Florida-2007
ArtiGras-North Palm Beach-2007
St. Johns Fine Art Show-St. Johns-Jacksonville Florida-2006
Art Harvest-Dunedin, Florida-2006
New Tampa Arts “Under the Oaks”-New Tampa, Florida-2006
Downtown Art and Living Expo-Orlando Florida-2006
Manatee Fine Art Show-Crystal River Florida-2006
Kiwanis Art Show- Safety Harbor, Florida-2005

Category(s): Better photography tips, Fine Art Photography Tips

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