126 — 6 Tips to Improve the Edges of Your Photos

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #126 dis­cusses the impor­tance of the four edges of your pho­tographs. They are seri­ously impor­tant and pay­ing atten­tion to them will improve your pho­tog­ra­phy. The pod­cast offers up 6 (actu­ally a few more than 6) prac­ti­cal tips on how to improve the edges of your photographs.

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast.

A sneak peek to one of the 6 tips which is use­ful to pho­tog­ra­phers of all lev­els is to check out the work of mas­ter painters. They knew about the edges, about the over­all com­po­si­tion, and the rules of com­po­si­tion. Those rules directly apply to pho­tog­ra­phy. This famous paint­ing below done by Rem­brandt shows dark edges all around which is of course no acci­dent. He did it all the time. Notice where your eye ends up in the paint­ing; on the wave at left and this too is no acci­dent. When we can apply some of these prin­ci­ples to pho­tog­ra­phy, our images almost always improve.


1633 - Rembrandt (1606-1669) Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee.

1633 — Rem­brandt (1606–1669) Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee.


Talk about how edges can add inter­est! This image by Selena Rhodes Scofield from our forum is framed in an extremely cre­ative way and the unusual per­spec­tive just adds to the visual inter­est. In addi­tion, both the seagull’s neck and its wing are cre­at­ing inter­est­ing pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive shapes as they inter­sect with the edges and the rest of the image. Being on the look­out for these shapes is another way to spi­cify your photography.


seagull 3 by Selena Rhodes Scofield

seag­ull 3 by Selena Rhodes Scofield


Of course when you want to break guide­lines, you break them when­ever you want to. Just be aware that you are doing so. In this image below, Cana­dian Mas­ter pho­tog­ra­pher and teacher Free­man Pat­ter­son does just that.

From his book Pho­tog­ra­phy and the Art of See­ing he wrote: “I saw this elderly lady as pass­ing away from me and my world, so I pho­tographed her through a win­dow clouded by reflec­tions and cur­tains. The shal­low depth of field, which throws the reflec­tions and cur­tains out of focus, cre­ates a sense of the sur­real and the unknown. The hand of the woman’s friend appears in the lower right cor­ner. By all tra­di­tional stan­dards of com­po­si­tion, the hand should not be there because it looks ampu­tated. Yet it seems strangely appro­pri­ate, rep­re­sent­ing sup­port that may be needed in the present, while at the same time adding to the impres­sion of the world dissolving”


Photograph by Freeman Patterson from The Art of Seeing.

Pho­to­graph by Free­man Pat­ter­son from The Art of Seeing.


Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

Pho­tog­ra­phy and the Art of See­ing by Free­man Pat­ter­son. If you can only afford one pho­tog­ra­phy book this year, buy this one.
Com­po­si­tion Basics by oopoomoo

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