Mat Frame

Turn to the back of the book and locate the "Mat Template." Trace the template onto sturdy paper and dry-mount it onto a piece of dark mat board. (See Appendix for instructions on mounting.) Then carefully cut through both the mat and the template along the dotted lines. For best results, use a sharp knife (such as an X-acto) and a metal straight-edge.

You have now constructed a mat frame with roughly the same proportions as your camera's viewfinder. Hold the frame an arm's length away, with the dark side toward you, and look through it. Wherever you happen to look, you'll have some kind of composition within the frame. Evaluate it. Is the composition interesting? Is it well-balanced? What kind of dynamics does it have?

Next, shift the frame to either side, up or down, and observe how that changes the composition. Move it closer to you to fit more into it, or further away to crop more out of it. Rotate the frame so it goes from horizontal to vertical and back again. Try as many adjustments as you can think of until you've made the best composition you can. Then turn around and try the same process in another direction. Select an object near you and experiment with it. How many interesting compositions can you produce with a single object? Can you make an interesting composition out of absolutely anything, or do only certain kinds of things work well?

Student photograph by Han June Bae.

This exercise is, in a sense, a photographer's "warm-up" exercise. Its purpose is to loosen up your photographic "muscles" before you actually go out to shoot photographs. By exercising with just a frame, you may find that you notice things that you might miss with all the complications of a real camera. This is likely to be true whether you've already used a camera for years, or are just getting started. It's a good exercise to come back to at regular intervals, just to "freshen up" your eye— so keep the template handy and use it often.

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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