Close-up of delicate mauve and yellow flower
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries

Gallery: full frame impact

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.

G. K. Chesterton

Firstly, the viewer has no context, no sense of this subject within a bigger setting. That can be a positive or negative thing. Do you want the viewer to have that context as part of the story you want your image to tell? Or is it an unnecessary distraction?

Secondly, as I have indicated, you remove all distractions and by doing so force the viewer to look only at this one thing. This can be very impactful.

And thirdly, you often achieve an effect I especially enjoy, that of a harmonious monochromatic colour image, as some of my shots below will demonstrate.

Anne has asked for some full frame images for this week’s Lens Artists challenge. She makes another point about this style of photography that I really like: ‘Most of my images in this post extend beyond the frame, meaning their stories continue beyond the confines of the image boundaries.’ Isn’t that a powerful idea, stimulating the viewer’s imagination to create their own context, their own stories?!

For my selection I’ll start with a shot from my recent trip to Madagascar. But the remainder come from a quick trawl through my archives. Some you may have seen before, for which I apologise. But they were the best examples I could find to illustrate the impact that filling the frame can have.

My feature photo is of an orchid at the Finca Romelia in Colombia, cropped to emphasise the beautiful heart of the flower.

Small green frog on green spiky leaves

Pandanus frog, Andisibe, Madagascar

This tiny frog, about 2.5 cm, is endemic to Madagascar. It lives only in the pools of water created between the leaves of the pandanus or screw pine, hence its name. This was an essential frame-filling shot. If I’d stood further back to show the whole plant in context you wouldn’t have noticed the frog. Although it could be argued that by including the plant I’ve placed the frog in context?

Tiny black ants on a cactus plant

Cactus with ants near the Salt Cathedral, Zipaquirá, Colombia

Similar to the previous shot, this one fills the frame with the cactus, drawing attention to the tiny ants.

Curved green leaves in close-up

In Mount Rainier National Park, WA

I’ve used this one before, but it’s too good an example of the monochrome colour effect I mentioned above not to repeat it here.

Looking up into an inflating hot air balloon

Hot air balloon near Marrakech

No need to include the sky to ‘explain’ this shot; it’s immediately obvious what it is without the need for any context.

Close-up of blue ice
Close-up of blue ice

Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Filling the frame with the leading edge of the glacier emphasises its beautiful colours and ice formations, although it doesn’t show its scale as well as a wider shot would do.

Tangle of buttress roots and tree trunk

Modern skyscraper with uneven diagonal framed windows

Fabric hats and cushions displayed on a stall

Front of a rusting yellow car

Old car at a roadside coffee shop near Yakima, WA

This shot makes the colour the star while also emphasising the car’s rusty condition.

Close-up of crab's claws

Crab at Deception State Park, WA

This close-up allows you to see the detail of the crab’s claws while creating another monochromatic sem-abstract image.

Close-up of an elephant with a branch in his mouth

At the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi

And finally, another repeat showing for a favourite image. I love zooming in on elephants to show the details of their skin and lovely eyes.


Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! And please include your name in case WP marks you 'anonymous' - thank you