Sometimes all it takes is a wee bit of cropping to fill the frame and have a full composition.  In all my ‘fill the frame’ workshops I stress using the entire four edges of the camera viewfinder as a canvas to be filled.  There should be no empty space.

Perennial border with pollinator plants - Frey Garden

Kate Fry’s summer perennial border of pollinator plants.

But even a photograph that is carefully composed in the viewfinder may look a bit loose when making the final editing decisions in post production.  Indeed, it is a dirty little secret that what you see in any camera’s viewfinder is less than what the sensor will actually capture.  The very best cameras show almost 100%, but even then, the only way to really see 100% is to peer around the edges inside the viewfinder.

So while it is too easy to shoot a photo that is not quite a full composition, it is almost as easy to crop it when you get it into the computer.  For the sake of you best images it is well worth making the effort.

Here is the full view of Kate Frey’s pollinator border that I originally composed see a bit of the path.

uncropped, Perennial border with pollinator plants - Frey Garden


Such an exuberant, full border needed cropping to fill the frame and tell a better story, so I used the crop tool to take out the path and the extra headroom atop the sunflowers.  Now that’s a winner.

Use this tip to your advantage when entering photo contests… such as the one I am currently running on Gardening Gone Wild with the theme of Summer.


Fill the Frame is the first chapter in the award winning e-book Good Garden Photography and is available as its own mini lesson on iTunes or Google Play for $1.99.ibook-01