Photo tip : Fill the frame



By Victoria de Martigny

When photographing animals, especially animals in zoos or other facilities where you might have some pesky fencing or other manmade objects that could detract from your story, a very effective way to create a compelling image is to “Fill the Frame”.  Basically what this means is that you fill as much of your image as possible with your subject, eliminating all background distractions.

Here’s an image I shot of one of one of the artic fox at the Ecomuseum Zoo a few years ago… before they moved into their luxurious new enclosure with the caribou.  As you can see, that fence in the background is distracting and takes away from the overall impact of the image.  Of course, if you really wanted to, you could Photoshop it out… but ain’t nobody got time for that!

Since what I was drawn to in this scene was the peaceful look on his face as he slept, I decided to change my perspective a little, wait for him to move into a position where I could see all of his features and then zoom in on only his face to fill the frame.  It’s almost hard to tell where his fur stops and the snow begins, but the result is a much more interesting wildlife image.  

One important tip for when you are filling the frame with your subject:  Decide on your crop IN CAMERA.  I could have cropped the first image in Lightroom to get something close to the second image, but then the final image would be of such low quality that if I ever wanted to print it, it would be difficult.  Instead, I stepped back and recomposed the shot so that the second image used my entire sensor to capture that frame and I can print it as large as I want without losing quality. 

This is a great habit to get into for any type of photography.
Victoria de Martigny is the owner and primary photographer at Creative Perspectives Photography.  Her photography has won awards from the SPPQ (Society for the Promotion of Photography in Quebec), PWPC (Professional Wedding Photographers of Canada), and other international competitions such as Photo District News, Shutterfest and She has been photographing families, babies & children and special events since 2008 and currently works out of her Ville St-Laurent studio.