Studiobinder's Ultimate Guide to Film Composition and Framing

Instead of getting overwhelmed by the various ways to go about positioning your camera, frame composition, and then deciding what you're trying to say with your shot selection, this video breaks down the various elements that directors and directors of photography use to convey their intent. 

From a Director of Photography's Perspective:

Points are used in photography and film. They're what catch the viewer's eye and draws the attention. It's probably the first thing I think of using when deciding on the frame and composition of my shot when working on storyboards for commercials. So, I would say if you're starting out, use points as starting point in your storyboard to show the client what you're doing with each shot. 

I use leading lines when they're there, but I've never asked the set design team to add lines to a set for me. But, I think if I find them while scouting locations, I'd certainly use them if the shots and scene allow for it. 

Textures are probably one of the most important aspects of the commercials I produce, as I mainly shoot beauty and cosmetics commercials. It's important to give the viewer the satisfaction of touching a cream. This is most important, although I do provide contrast with the set. If the cream is white and shot in a bathroom, I might add a rougher texture to the walls, or I might add to the softness of the cream with soft, white curtains. This is all part of the pre-production process.

I create space by setting up the camera closer or farther away from my talent. These shots are all signed off by the client, but it is possible to try getting closer or farther away if time allows. This gives clients a few more options to select from in the edit. 

Angles are often disregarded by tv commercial clients. But, as an example, if I have two brothers playfully embracing each other, I will use an easy-rig and move around with them. This causes some movement and often changes the angle, which adds energy to the shot.


This video is great for someone who hasn't gone to film school. The whole series can be watched on Studiobinder's YouTube channel. The way they convey the information and the time and effort that goes in to each video they upload should be appreciated. We are really fortunate having it all for free. 

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

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