Finding Framing to Balance the Shot

Having settings isn't all you need. It is REALLY REALLY REALLY important that you get good at how to line up a shot.

Have you ever asked someone to take a photo for you out in the wild? Like someone walking buy who is super eager to come help. Then they step back 300 feet and take a photo of the sky and you're just sitting there dark and in the corner of the photo. It is the worst. One thing worse is when people have the gall to say "Oh you just have a nice camera, that's all." Then they try it and all the photos are blurry or again, half your body and 70% sky.


This part takes years to get a solid hang of, BUT a simple way to develop a photographers eye is to try to find SYMMETRY.


Pretend there is a grid over everything you shoot. Is what you're taking a photo of (the subject) filling the frame in the most useful way? If its a building, is it balanced out well, even on both sides, but also showing the mountains (the action) with the space that's left over that you didn't need to use anyway?

Let me explain. I am taking a photo of this commercial construction site. My priority is the building, I have it balanced out and even with the slanting roads perfectly balanced on both sides. But since I wasn't using that background area of the photo anyway I might as well move my drone to the right a tiny bet and turn the camera just to squeeze in the end of the mountain so you get the whole range in the shot with the sunset.

The building is still the subject. The construction is still the center of the frame, visible, and its what I lit for. That's why I went there. But finding a way to include the environment is what makes it worth more than the normal point/shoot job.

This is what the eager guy who wants to take your photo on vacation doesn't understand. Nobody on vacation wants a good picture of them. They want a good picture of them at that place. Make the person the priority of what needs to be clear and visible, but show what is going on with any room you can. Or in the tourists case what they are doing as much as you can without compromising the ability to see that its them in the photo.


Very simple rule (guideline) in Photography is to split the frame into segments of three.
Simple idea that basically makes that point that moving the photo anywhere EXCEPT eye-level, straight forward, center of frame makes any photo a bajillion times more fun to look at.

So a simple way to get into the habit of NOT shooting center-frame-everything is to line up whatever you're shooting (house, dog, grandma, whatever) onto the left 3rd of the frame, as if that were the center.

You can also do the same with the top 3rd of the frame, place the horizon higher than the center of the picture and you will have much more satisfying results.

Again, these are just guidelines. I ignore this regularly if I spot something I think would be cool if it were perfectly balanced... as all things should be.

Rules like this should be broken all the time the second you grow out of it, like training wheels.


I've given you tons of files to practice with from lots of different locations. You can also go to the Drone Launch Academy instagram to see some good examples of framing from all over the world.

Complete and Continue