OUT OF BOUNDS

 with frame

 By Caroline Wilkinson

Camera: Nikon D300 Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 Software: Adobe Photoshop CS5

YOU CANNOT DENY IT. when done well out-of-bounds pictures are at worst amusing and at best impressively intriguing. The effect of having subjects appearirg to come out of a picture is commonly known as  out-of-bounds  for obvious reasons, and I ve always wanted to try giving it a go with friends for a fun slant on a group shot. So. when given the theme of picture frames, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And. to my surprise, achieving the effect was easy - as long as you do the groundwork well in-camera.

I d expected to have to pull a few nifty Photoshop tricksout the hat to make the effect look relatively realistic, but it was quite the contrary. As usual, the more you get right in-camera, the easier and more minimal the post-processing is. The first step is to come up with the concept: how do you want the subjects to interact between the frames, where do you want them looking etc. as this will determine how you pose them and, of course, the position of the frames. Now, ideally, you ll have a wall at hone featuring multiple frames that you simply need to photograph for your background image. If that s the case, make sure you shoot it in the same lighting conditions as you will your subjects because the direction of shadows and different qualities of light can be a giveaway and can ruin the effect. Flat, soft lighting -like you get from a large window - works best for keeping shadows to a minimum. Take any glass out of the frames, too, to avoid reflections. If you re like me, however, and don t have a  here s-one-l-made-earlier  wall handy, and would prefer not to have to buy any frames or to touch up the living room walls with Polyfilla and paint once the frames come down, you might want to look at downloading an image from an online resource like istockphoto.com instead. Once you have your background image, it s time to photograph the subjects.

 with frameAs I wanted the subjects to appear as if theycoming out of framed holes in the wall, I had to carefully consider the placement of the light and shadows to create the right depth and to ensure it blended well with the background image. With this in mind, I makeshifted a box by attaching a black sheet to an empty picture frame. I then asked someone to hold the corners of the frame up, while the subjects posed under the sheet and through the frame, allowing the light to fall off behind them. While you could use a softbox, I positioned the subjects facing a large window to cast flattering light across their faces, allowing the frame to cast the shadows I needed. Working with a frame also meant it was easier to get the placement of the hands and perspective right. It was important to remember the concept at this stage as I needed to get the posing and expression right for each shot, which can be tricky as the subjects don t have anyone to interact with. I found it handy to print off the background image to use as a reference. If including pets or children in the shout, you may have to adapt the set-up to suit them. As Rebecca, my 16-month-old model, was a little frightened of the set-up, I sat her in her carrycot to get the dark background and then let her play with the frame; she naturally peeked through to look up at her parents, giving me the shot I needed. Make sure that enough of your subject is in focus, too - opt for a mid-aperture and aim to get at least to the shoulders in focus.

Comments are closed.