Do You Need to Fill the Frame?
Wildlife photographers seem to spend a lot of time and a lot of money to capture eyeballs. The upclose and tight shot is very popular. I personally have no problem with that style and every so often, indulge in it myself. When photographers ask me to comment on their images though of “eyeballs” I ask them why they shot it that way. To date, I’ve never gotten an answer that really was meaningful. Many think that that’s just what you need to do. While getting the upclose and personal shot might seem like a challenge because you do need to own big glass and you do need to get close physically, I’ve always felt it was the easiest form of wildlife photography. What I’ve always found to be a challenge is making the shot when the subject is really small in the frame.
When you fill the frame with the head of a critter, the rest of the image is taken care of because, there is no room for any other element. There is nothing that can take the mind’s eye from the subject. When the subject doesn’t fill the frame and in this example of a Great Egret, doesn’t even come close, making sure you see that subject and then move the eye around the frame and back to the subject I think is a gargantuan hurdle to the great image. I find that a long lens is still essential to do the dance, include wanted elements while excluding unwanted. But you have to go beyond that and become a great story teller! So when it comes to the question, do you need to fill the frame? You don’t have to fill it with the subject but you do have to fill it with elements that take the mind’s eye and imagination back to the subject. That’s just plane old hard!