Here is a tip I learned whilst working with Charlie Waite (I know it’s name droppy but I really did) when I was a leader with Light & Land Photographic Holidays and it has never left me. I thought I should share it with you. This original advice particularly referred at the time to arches on a long spanned bridge, the point being made that an arch cut in half looks messy whereas there is a ‘thought through’ element if the arch is all included.
This involves looking very carefully around all four edges of the frame when taking the shot (either through the viewfinder or the live view screen) to make sure that elements of your shot both start and end within its borders. There can be fewer things more frustrating than seeing an unrepeatable scene in front of you, only to realise later that is is host to half a cow’s torso or a pile of dumped rubbish. Then you have the chore of waiting to get home and removing the half cow or rubbish pile later. You also may run the risk of losing file size if you have to crop out the offending ‘thing’, and you make extra work for yourself. This equally applies to both something sticking out of the edges of the frame and protruding into the shot.
I think it’s important that images have uncluttered borders, unless of course, it is your intention to do this for a reason. Do check what field of view your camera viewfinder offers you. Some do offer 100% but others can offer 97 or 98% so you don’t always see the picture that the camera will take. I guess it’s down to paying attention really, and taking care over composition. It will show in the final product.
Whilst it all may sound fairly obvious, in the ‘heat of the moment’ I have done this, and lost the shot.
(if in doubt, deliberately include more than you need, perhaps, so at least, if the object is fairly small and falling out of the shot, or uncomfortably close to the edge, you can crop it off altogether? Unless it’s a swan, of course))