A per­son lived and lived calm­ly, then how he pho­tographed the por­trait, how he put it on pub­lic dis­play, and how he learned from the com­ments that his hori­zon was lit­tered, it was absolute­ly impos­si­ble to cut the elbow like that, the eyes were not accord­ing to the gold­en ratio and how could you even cut off the edge of the mod­el priests. And that’s it, a per­son no longer lives in peace. Now he only reads how to do it right so that they don’t throw toma­toes on the Inter­net.

In this arti­cle, we fig­ure out how to frame peo­ple cor­rect­ly and whether there real­ly is any “cor­rect” in this mat­ter.

Classic portrait framing rules in the studio

When we shoot a shot, the pur­pose of which is to show the beau­ty of the mod­el, and only shoot in a warm, cozy stu­dio, it doesn’t rain on us, the sun doesn’t blind, and the mod­el doesn’t leave you on a bicy­cle to anoth­er galaxy, arbi­trary cut­ting of body parts may look out of place.

In such a por­trait, care­ful com­po­si­tion is impor­tant. Also, do not touch the bound­aries of the frame if the idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe plot does not include the ideas of “going beyond”, “crowd­ing”, “bound­aries” and “rebel­lion”, or if you do not show clear­ly that the mod­el her­self is not the main point of the frame.

On the left is the orig­i­nal frame, on the right is an exam­ple of care­less crop­ping. Pho­to: Olga Yon­sh

For exam­ple, if we cut off the toes of the mod­els in this shot, it will look like an acci­den­tal neg­li­gence in the work of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er and cause annoy­ance to the view­er.

Cropping a portrait in a reportage

If, apart from the beau­ty of the mod­el, the frame has some oth­er mean­ing or we are shoot­ing in not the most pleas­ant con­di­tions, the rules of the game change.

Two fac­tors are already at play here: in a reportage por­trait, genre por­trait or when shoot­ing in bad weath­er, the view­er will for­give you free fram­ing, because it can enhance the impres­sion. So through a flat pic­ture you can con­vey what kind of rain was falling, and what you were shoot­ing, get­ting wet to the skin in three min­utes.

Mas­ters of pho­tog­ra­phy are not shy about “cut­ting” peo­ple, and you are not shy. Pho­to: Hen­ri-Carti­er Bres­son

Modern portrait cropping in studio

Or the view­er will not even have to for­give any­thing, trim­ming the limbs can empha­size the plot and con­vey mean­ings.

Here, the mean­ing of the frame on the left is to show the skill of the make­up artist. We don’t wor­ry if the mod­el has an ear and a sec­ond eye, we don’t shout where the author of the case is the chin. In the frame on the right, the hero­ine is cramped in frames, she push­es them apart with her elbows and rest­ed her head. She is so cramped in the frames that even instead of a bra she uses what­man paper. Pho­to: Olga Yon­sh

Let’s con­tin­ue the theme of the appro­pri­ate­ness of this or that fram­ing using the exam­ple of pho­tos for jew­el­ry brands.

When dec­o­ra­tions become the main char­ac­ters of the shots, we are no longer sur­prised that the beau­ty of the mod­el is pre­sent­ed to us only piece­wise and “like a back­ground”. When the essence of the frame is to con­vey the beau­ty of jew­el­ry or the work of a make­up artist, the mod­el lit­er­al­ly becomes a can­vas. Since, in the usu­al sense, the photographer’s can­vas is the frame of the frame, quite often the frame of the can­vas is almost com­plete­ly filled with a can­vas mod­el so that there is no void.

Exam­ples of por­trait crop­ping for jew­el­ry ads. Pho­to: Vogue Por­tu­gal on the left, Elle Mag­a­zine on the right

In these frames, we do not wor­ry, sud­den­ly the girl on the right is miss­ing half of her face and whose hands are hug­ging the face on the left. How­ev­er, if you get car­ried away with fram­ing with­out the goal of achiev­ing a spe­cif­ic result, being an inat­ten­tive or inex­pe­ri­enced cat-pho­tog­ra­ph­er (the one with paws), you can get frames that look like an unfor­tu­nate acci­dent, and frames in which it is not clear whether all the body parts of the mod­el are on actu­al­ly in stock, or vice ver­sa, if there are more of them than you need.

Portrait framing hacks

How to deal with inat­ten­tion? The more you shoot, the more details you can keep in mind at the same time. It’s like dri­ving a car. At the very begin­ning of learn­ing, most of us can­not change gear by look­ing in the mir­ror and con­tin­u­ing straight ahead. Skill comes with prac­tice.

How to deal with incom­pre­hen­si­ble anato­my? Often fram­ing errors are errors in pos­ing the mod­el in the frame, its pos­es. In part, you can also save your­self by prac­tice: the bet­ter you under­stand that you see a volu­mi­nous liv­ing per­son on the set, and show the audi­ence only a flat pic­ture, the more crit­i­cal­ly you notice unsuc­cess­ful pos­es.

But also in many cas­es, a fram­ing error made on set can be solved with a larg­er fram­ing in post-pro­cess­ing.

Pay atten­tion to the fram­ing of the mod­el’s hands. Pho­to: Vogue Rus­sia

On the one hand, the pho­to above is good enough to be the cov­er of a mag­a­zine, select­ed from many shots by pro­fes­sion­als with a lot of eye­balls. The hand here focus­es on the ear­ring in the ear of the mod­el — the so-called com­po­si­tion­al tech­nique of lead­ing lines. But where does this hand come from? If you think about it, we can eas­i­ly under­stand the pose of the mod­el, but it is quite dif­fi­cult to get rid of the idea that it is grow­ing out of the head. But what is pos­si­ble for Vogue will nev­er be for­giv­en by com­men­ta­tors on the Inter­net to a novice pho­tog­ra­ph­er.

Why it is not recommended to crop a portrait by joints

The main rea­son for the incom­pre­hen­si­ble anato­my in the frame is pos­ing errors, not fram­ing.

Our brain is very afraid of injury. Try to dis­re­gard the fact that you filmed it and know that the mod­el is doing well with the limbs. Look strict­ly: if it seems to you that the hero of the frame does not have a hand, it will also seem to the view­er. This rule applies not only to crop­ping — it works in the same way with parts of the body “hid­den” due to a pose or objects in the fore­ground.

For exam­ple, I will get my first expe­ri­ence of shoot­ing with stu­dio light from an ancient archive. Under­stand­ing how light­ing equip­ment works was a dif­fi­cult task for me then, so the pose of a mod­el friend was the tenth thing for me. And here we have a pic­ture of a “girl with­out a left leg”, but this has noth­ing to do with fram­ing.

Crop­ping can solve the prob­lem of incor­rect pos­ing. Pho­to from the archive of Olga Yon­sh

On the right is an exam­ple of how, due to crop­ping, I remove this ter­ri­ble asso­ci­a­tion from the pic­ture. The pho­to from it did not become good. What remains is flat light­ing, ques­tion­able lay­out and styling, and a lack of sto­ry. But we no longer think that the girl has no legs.

Our imag­i­na­tion is ready to com­plete every­thing that is framed to the whole. Just don’t inter­fere with him. I real­ly like to exper­i­ment with reflec­tions in the frame. Look how small the mod­el is in these pho­tos. From both girls in the frame only legs. The rest is par­tial reflec­tions in dif­fer­ent mir­rors. But these images do not seem to us dis­mem­bered, we under­stand what is on them. Such pho­tos are inter­est­ing to look at.

Look­ing at reflec­tions in mir­rors. Pho­to: Olga Yon­sh

How best to frame a portrait

In the ear­ly days of pho­tog­ra­phy, each per­son had few pho­tographs. And if you only get one or two for­mal por­traits, it should­n’t be cre­ative fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy. It should be a beau­ti­ful, sim­ple, cropped pho­to­graph that grand­ma will love and that grand­chil­dren will care­ful­ly frame.

Left: Por­trait fram­ing scheme from full-length to close-up. Illus­tra­tion: digitalcameraworld.com // To the right is an exam­ple of a great busi­ness por­trait. Pho­to: Yaroslav Mirosh­nik

The rules have changed, because now there are a lot of pho­tos, and besides a busi­ness pho­to and a for­mal por­trait, we are free to shoot and shoot as we please.

The rules for neat trim­ming are dic­tat­ed to us by the lay­out — an even dis­play of the object as it is. Com­po­si­tion is always about mean­ings, when the mean­ing is more impor­tant than the mod­el, for the good of the plot, we can cut it as we want.

Strange fram­ing is the result of strange pos­ing and unusu­al angles. Or inex­pe­ri­ence and inat­ten­tion of the author. Strange pos­es and unusu­al angles can be the result of an unusu­al idea or incon­ve­nient shoot­ing cir­cum­stances.

Often, the pres­ence or absence of cre­ative fram­ing dic­tates the theme of the shoot.

If you are shoot­ing a front, busi­ness por­trait, refrain from exper­i­ment­ing. Frame to the waist or hips, let both hands of the per­son be in the frame entire­ly. In prin­ci­ple, give up strange pos­es and strange fram­ing. In a busi­ness por­trait, a lawyer, top man­ag­er or real­tor should not be cre­ative rebels, but should be cred­i­ble com­pe­tent pro­fes­sion­als.

If you’re shoot­ing por­traits for tin­der, there’s also basi­cal­ly no need for cre­ative fram­ing.

If you’re film­ing a rock band, a sur­re­al­ist magi­cian, a cre­ative or com­mer­cial project where odd­i­ty, chal­lenge, and mixed audi­ence reac­tions are the plan, here’s the high point for ambigu­ous bold fram­ing.

Practical tips for framing a portrait

  • Be your own harsh­est crit­ic. Learn how the mas­ters of pho­tog­ra­phy crop in the genre in which you devel­op.
  • Use the frame bound­aries as part of the sto­ry you’re telling, instead of “ouch, it did­n’t fit” excus­es.
  • It is pos­si­ble to cut at the joints if you return the sev­ered limbs to the frame back through the fold.
The paint­ing “Return of the arm with a cir­cum­cised elbow.” Pho­to: Olga Yon­sh
  • I do not know sit­u­a­tions in which it would make sense to cut in the mid­dle of the eye.
  • Cut a per­son at the “widest” or vice ver­sa, the “nar­row­est” places of the fig­ure if you want him to appear more mas­sive. Cut into taper­ing or flared ones to make it look sleek­er.
  • Decide what exact­ly you want to say in a par­tic­u­lar frame. The sub­ject deter­mines the com­po­si­tion and fram­ing.
  • Avoid sit­u­a­tions where “nei­ther two nor one and a half.” If the body part is in the frame, make sure that it takes up more than three pix­els. One pad of one fin­ger looks like unnec­es­sary garbage and a mis­take. Three fin­gers, two pha­lanx­es — like your cun­ning plan. In the same way, cut­ting off the very edge of one leg will look care­less, but if the mod­el touch­es the frame bor­ders in sev­er­al places, this is already your insid­i­ous author’s plan.


От Yara

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