Using objects to create depth and interest. An easy way up your photography game!
I captioned this photo "She's supposed to be cleaning her room." I could compile an entire series with this caption, showing all the ways she (and her older sister) love to procrastinate from cleaning their rooms. Anyone else in this same boat? In this photo, she is literally sitting in the middle of her mess--probably even on TOP of her mess. But, she was reading a book, and in such pretty light, I took a moment to capture the memory before reminding her of her actual task.
I could have stood at my regular height and shot down on the scene, which I think is most people's go-to stance when photographing. However, to really tell the story, I wanted to show just how mountainous the amount of crap on her floor (and bed and dresser and desk) was. So I got down on the floor to frame her within the junk. This helps tell the story of her messy room even better.
Alex, the main character in the Alex Lightwood Cozy Mystery Series, uses this technique in the free novella Lenses, Leather, and Lies. At the Coastbusters Motorcycle Club's ride for charity, she uses two helmets to frame and add depth to an otherwise mundane snapshot of the scene. Using everyday objects to add a foreground really elevates a simple snapshot to a thoughtful and memorable work of art.
I used this technique again when trying to capture the juxtaposing feelings surrounding the outpouring of support after my daughter was bit by a dog earlier this year. It was a very scary time for our entire family, but the amount of prayers and flowers and presents given to my daughter was overwhelming and helped lift all our spirits so much. A few days after the event, Avery was feeling better, but still not up to her usual shenanigans. I chose to frame this quiet moment with some of the wonderful flowers she received. Without this frame, it would just be a picture of her sitting the couch. Adding the flowers to the foreground, however, gives this picture a little more interest and helps draw your eye directly to her poor, little bandaged face. I also love the contrast of the softness/happiness of the flowers and the rough bandages and solemn expression on her face. And don't worry - she's all healed and back to her usual crazy self. :)
This technique (framing in camera), when used correctly, is an easy way to elevate your photos from blah to wow. Before snapping that next picture, see if there is a way to frame your subject in camera with everyday objects around you that help tell the story of that moment.
I'd love to know what you capture--be sure to share in the comments below, tag me on Instagram, or drop me an email!