Composition is often discussed in photography as a whole. In most cases it can be carefully planned and set up but in wildlife photography it can prove to be a touch more difficult. Predictions of an animal’s movements are made through understanding their behavior to try and achieve certain shots but every now and again we get some extra help from our surroundings. Both living and non-living objects can help focus more attention on our subjects through framing.
We so often seek a clean, unobstructed image with the subject placed in perfect light but out here this is often not the case. When we find ourselves in an environment that is a little more cluttered we should be able to use it to our advantage. A tree or some stray branches are some of the things that are considered ‘in the way’ but can change a shot for the better. With the use of a shallow depth of field they can be quite helpful in redirecting the eye towards your subject.
Our subjects can quite often be framed by another animal. The most common example of this is young animals with their mothers. Legs, trunks and tails can all be extremely helpful when framing them and exaggerating their lack of size. Not only are these helpful for framing different subjects within an image they also can add to the nurturing caring atmosphere of photographs of animals with their offspring.
Framing is an element that is far beyond our control but it is possible to harness and use if you are open to it. Photography is, after all, an art and a way to express what we see out here through our interpretation of a scene using a still image. Take advantage of this fact and try different compositions, put things off center and allow some space to capture a little more of the greater picture in a way that you want to tell it.
Have you ever tried to use framing in you photography, how did you feel about the results?
Written by Simon Smit
Photographed by Simon Smit and Kate Neill