It's Week #20: Looking into the Frame


Photo by: Gordon Oliver – Week 2: Rule of Thirds (2017)

Another challenge to sharpen your compositional skills! This photographic rule is similar to “headspace”, only this time we are concerned with the space that the subject is “looking into”. Simply put (sorry Tzvi), if your subject is “looking” to the left, then place your subject on the right part of your frame. If your subject is looking up and to the right, place them more towards the bottom left.
Give your subject space to “look into”. Now this doesn’t have to mean a portrait, or even eyes that are looking. It can be a bird, a plane, sorry I had to… Basically anything that has an identifiable “front” and “back”.
The idea is, in the same sense as our headspace challenge, is this allows the viewer to see the space that the subject is “going into”. If you want to break the rules and have your subject against the edge looking “out of the frame”, this will give the sense of being trapped, and will give the composition a more anxious feeling to it. Looking out of the frame can also be an interesting artistic direction, so as always, feel free to break the rules as necessary. 🙂

Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • Use the tools you’ve gathered so far. A really great rule to use here to help you out with your composition is the Rule of Thirds (Week 2), and Negative Space (Week 9).
  • Looking into the frame does NOT mean looking into the lens. Rather, the front of your subject should be facing the bulk of the photo. Didn’t like my explanation above? Here’s some other guy explaining it!
  • Your subject does not have to be a person! Although this is important for street photography, and portraits in general, you should have this compositional guideline in mind when shooting any subject that has “direction” to it.
  • Break the rules. What? You just told me the rule! Well, we tell you the rules so that you can know when to break it. Having your subject looking out of the frame may yield an interesting creative look. Use when necessary.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out The Googles! Oh you sweet Googles. 

Extra Credit: Panning

For some extra credit joojoo, try panning! Panning is a really cool advanced technique that captures a subject in motion, while blurring out the background. You’ll need to set your shutter speed a bit lower, follow your subject in motion so that they stay in complete focus, while the background becomes blurred. This technique coupled with keeping your subject on one side of the frame is quite difficult (but much more effective), so proceed to extra credit with caution!

Some tips to consider for panning:

  • Keep your elbows tucked tightly to your sides and move/pivot your entire upper body, while keeping your camera in the same place in front of your face!
  • Shutter speed can vary based on the speed of your subject. A cyclist? Try 1/20th. A racecar? 1/125th or even 1/250th will probably capture the motion as it’s moving so quickly (YMMV – see what works for you!).
  • Keep your Autofocus on AI-Servo (Canon) or AF-C (Nikon) so it follows through as the subject moves. If you can anticipate where your subject will be, you may be better off focusing on that point, and switching to manual focus (and leaving it).
  • Keep in mind what the blurred background will look like, as well as everything else about the photo: Composition, lighting, color, etc… Find a comfortable spot where you can stand for 45 minutes or more!
  • Keep practicing! Panning is quite difficult to get the hang of it, so take a bunch of shots! (“Bunch” can mean a few hundred! Don’t worry, digital “film” is super cheap!)

Check out The Googles for more inspiration!!


Remember, it is not necessary to keep this Extra Credit challenge in mind while shooting. It’s extra credit!

*Please note!! You can only submit ONE photo per week, for the week’s challenge. This photo can include the “Extra Credit” part of the challenge, or the “regular” challenge, but you can never submit more than one photo!

Past Challenges 2016

Past Challenges - 2015