Project 52: Fill the Frame

We’re making sure to fill the frame with our subject in this week’s Project 52 Theme!

Introducing Charlie

Since my last two photos for this Project 52 have featured Knox and Chloe, I figured it was time to feature Charlie.


A young girl holds a closely shaved shi-tzu, recently adopted from the animal shelter.
Charlie’s hair was still short from being shaved in this snapshot.


Charlie is very special to us. We adopted him from Southern Pines Animal Shelter back in 2013. When he arrived at the shelter, he was so matted that they thought they would have to euthanize him. Fortunately, the owners at Affinity Retreat were willing to take a chance, and they had to shave him down to the skin to remove all the mats. As you can see in the snapshot above, His hair was still extremely short when we got him.  He had been unable to move his back legs for who knows how long, and you could tell he had little muscle tone in those limbs.

When we adopted him, the shelter told us he had lots of people interested in adopting him but when they saw him they thought he was ugly! ☹️

Well, we saw how beautiful he was and could be, and fell in love, and he quickly adjusted to life with the Evans family. I’m happy to report, he has “filled out” nicely!


My shi-tzu, Charlie
Charlie looks so excited about having his photo taken


Fill the Frame

“Fill the frame” is another rule of composition. Keep in mind with all “rules” of composition, they are really suggestions and not rules. For beginning photographers, however, it is better to treat them as rules until you learn when you can break the rules.

Filling the frame shouldn’t be taken literally. It really means to isolate your subject as much as possible, and the subject should definitely be the dominant object in the photo.

In my opinion, the mood of your subject is conveyed better in photos where they fill the frame than in other photos. By dominating so much of the photo, there is very little in the frame to “dilute” the feelings of the subject.

That’s why you want to be careful and not fill the frame too much. This  can take away the context of your photo, and possibly reduce the meaning you are trying to convey.

In the photos below, you see Charlie in his “native environment,” our couch. In the other photo, he is on a backdrop for the first time. He is very skittish about strange surfaces, which is why he looks scared.


You will usually find Charlie in "his spot" on the sofa.


Charlie isn't sure aobut this background.


Please check out the other amazing pet photographers and their interpretation of filling the frame, including Sam Adele with The Hoof & Hound Photographer covering Lancaster UK.


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