How to Improve your Photography - Frame It!

a sailboat or paraw framed by a bamboo fence
a sailboat or paraw framed by a bamboo fence

Do you ever wonder why most pictures are framed when they are displayed?

Somehow it seems natural that these pictures are framed and it’s almost unthinkable to imagine them without the frame. Am I right?

So what do Frames do to a Picture?

Well, frames usually enhance or call attention to a picture. Frames help focus the attention of the viewer. So this ability of frames to focus or draw attention has also been used by photographers not only when displaying their photos but even while still composing their shots.

You can use natural frames like windows or doorways or you can also use some elements of nature like branches or rocks.

framed by a window
framed by a window
framed by some plants
framed by some plants
framed by rocks
framed by rocks

You can even use the human body or a part of the human body as a frame. For example, I took this shot from between the legs of another photographer. What do you think?

framed by the legs of another photographer
framed by the legs of another photographer

What Else Do Frames Do to a Picture?

  • Frames also give context to a picture. What do we mean by that?

Well, frames like doorways or windows for example can tell something about the architecture or even the historical period of the place. This is shown in the next two pictures. Take a look at how the arch and doorway right away give clues to the period or era of the building.

arch frames a Spanish era structure
arch frames a Spanish era structure
this doorway definitely says - contemporary
this doorway definitely says - contemporary
  • Another thing that frames do is to give depth to a photo.

If you use a frame in your photo, it will naturally have a bit of foreground, middle and background as shown in these photos below.

a photographer framed by some posts in the foreground as he tried to get a shot of the waterfalls in the background
a photographer framed by some posts in the foreground as he tried to get a shot of the waterfalls in the background
notice the bamboos in the foreground, the boys in the middle, and the hills in the background
notice the bamboos in the foreground, the boys in the middle, and the hills in the background
  • One other thing why frames can enhance your photos is, - it can give a sense of drama or intrigue. Why is that?

Well, if the frame is a door or window for example, then the viewer will usually be intrigued by what is behind the door or window.

Just take a look at the photos below. Don't you wonder what is behind the door?

My daughters framed by a doorway. Aren't you curious to find out what is behind that door?
My daughters framed by a doorway. Aren't you curious to find out what is behind that door?

Or if the frame is oddly shaped as in the photos below, then the viewer will start to wonder what the whole frame is made of or what is beyond the frame.

Circular frame. Don't you wonder what created this circular frame? Why is it all dark?
Circular frame. Don't you wonder what created this circular frame? Why is it all dark?
Sculpture as frame. Makes you want to ask - "what are you  looking at up there?"
Sculpture as frame. Makes you want to ask - "what are you looking at up there?"

Frames Are Not Always Actual Frames

To frame something in a picture, you can use anything from doorways to arches, to branches and people, or tunnels and rocks. Your frame does not even have to be complete. It can be present in even just 2 sides or in all four sides.

a tunnel framing a waterfalls
a tunnel framing a waterfalls
bamboo pole and raft framing the children
bamboo pole and raft framing the children
banana leaves framing the sun
banana leaves framing the sun

To Frame or Not to Frame

When do you use a frame in your picture? The best way to answer that is to simply make a test. Take shots of your picture with or without a frame, then you will see what works best for a particular shot.

Most of the time a frame will really enhance and add drama and focus to your picture. However, sometimes a frame will not add any value or may even confuse the viewer. You will just have to decide what works best in your shot.

Framed shot
Framed shot
Unframed shot
Unframed shot
Unframed shot
Unframed shot
Framed shot
Framed shot

The next photo of a child is certainly perfectly framed. There is focus, drama, intrigue, and I just can’t get my eyes off the child. Don’t you agree?

Framed!
Framed!

So, if you want to catch the attention of your viewer or you want to add drama, intrigue, depth, and context to your photo, there is one trick you can use – frame it!

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Comments 60 comments

MalcolmKlock profile image

MalcolmKlock 6 years ago

Such simple advice, but very worth listening too. Certainly can help a novice take it to the next level.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Finally - a hub on hub hopping worth rating and commenting! Great tips - I love photography too! Best, Steph


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Malcolm,

Thank you for being the first to visit!

I am very happy if this simple advice can help you. It certainly helps me in my photography adventures. That's why I am sharing it here.

Thanks very much for your upbeat comment.

See you around!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Steph,

It's nice to see you!

Great to meet another photoenthusiast! I'm happy you found this worth rating and commenting.

Thanks for your wonderful comment!

God bless!


OlgaBBC 6 years ago

Wow! Really nice! Thanks!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Olga,

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment!

All the best!


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

very well put, always looking for the simple solutions...


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Sam,

Thanks very much!

It's nice to see you again!

God bless!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Jill of Alltrades, Thank you for the wonderful,helpful suggested tips on framing... I consider you an excellent, gifted photographer with an artful eye! Peace & Blessings!


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

What an interesting topic:) I really liked how the brick opening in the wall,acted as a frame for the boy! Always enjoy your pictures, they are an added bonus:)


anujagarwal profile image

anujagarwal 6 years ago from Noida

Some really useful tips out there. Thanks for the wonderful hub.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi DeBorrah,

I always look forward to your visits because you say some of the most inspiring comments! Thank you very much!

Hugs to you!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello heart,

Thanks very much for your wonderful comment. I really appreciate it.

Hope to see you again!

God bless!


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

Jill if you ever need me to model for one of your hubs do not hesitate to ask.As usual I love your work and there is definitely alot to be learned from your hobby which you have turned into an art !


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi anujagarwal,

Thank you very much for appreciating my work.

You are most welcome! My pleasure really!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Tony,

It's so nice to see you my friend!

Ok, I'll keep that in mind. Now I have a hubber model on call!

Thanks very much for your ever uplifting comments about my hubs. I really appreciate it. I'm happy that you are around to boost my confidence about my hobby.

God bless you my friend!


Smarla 6 years ago

I like your hub! :) Great tips! :)


Phebe 6 years ago

I was thinking a lot about you lately... so as I have just received your hubpage I got excited looking at it; my excitment has been worth your new hubpage!

Soon we will be leaving for summer vacation and it is nice knowing some more tips about taking beautiful pictures. Love to you and your beautiful family. Phebe


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Smarla,

Thanks for the visit and lovely comment!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Phebe,

Thank you very much for dropping by and leaving a beautiful comment!

Enjoy your vacation and I'm looking forward to seeing your photos. I'm happy if this hub will contribute to your picture taking activities. Have fun!

God bless you my friend!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Jill - not only are you a great artist, you're such a generous one. Thanks so much for those tips. I'm usually an aim and shoot kind of a person but I'm doing to pay attention to framing from now on. Thanks!


Gem Yabut 6 years ago

Very very very informative!

Never thought the framing technique is a very powerful approach in enhancing your composition.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Shalini,

It's so nice to see you!

Wow, you are making me blush with your kind words. I am so happy if I am able to contribute a bit to your picture taking activities. I didn't know about this before either. That's why I am happy to share whatever I have learned along the way. So the pleasure is really mine.

Thanks for being here for me always!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Gem,

I'm so happy to see you!

I'm sure you know this technique already. Ikaw pa! Still I really appreciate your dropping by and your leaving an inspiring comment.

See you! Thanks again for stopping by.

God bless!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

You always surprise me with yet another treasure of a hub. This one is so useful and unique and so easy to follow. Thank you again jill! Beautiful photos too!!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Green Lotus,

I just opened my hub and what a great way to start my day with your beautiful comment!

You just made me smile and sing "Oh what a beautiful morning..."!

Thank you very much my friend!

God bless!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

Great advice. I used to be very involved in photography but have largely fallen out of the heavy duty involvement, but this is the kind of advice and learning that sticks with you and gives even your casual snapshots an air of professionalism and air of grace.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Christoph,

I'm happy that this reminded you of your photography days. I hope that you will take it up again. It's just fun and satisfying.

Thank you very much for your visit and heartwarming comment!

God bless!


FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

Great habit to get into!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello FCEtier,

Thanks very much for you visit and upbeat comment!

All the best!


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Jill of alltrades This is such a beautiful hub. I learned a few things. Amazing artist you are. I so thank you for sharing your gift with others and me included!!

I love the pose in between the legs. You brought much joy to my heart today. I am Blessed by your presence. Hugs Galores sister. Keep pressing on. I love you.


coffeesnob 6 years ago

Jill,

Your hubs always lift me up! I loved this one with the thoughts on framing that I never considered before..I like how you did the contrasts of the framed and unframed work -wow what a difference it made. I think my favorites were of the child (the last one) and the body frame way way cool. YOu have a creative photographer's eye!

Carol


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Skye2day,

Thank you very much for your inspiring words! You have made me very happy!

I enjoy sharing my work and what I know, so if I somehow bring you joy, the pleasure is all mine!

Hugs to you too! God bless you friend!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carol my friend,

Your presence here always brings a smile to my face! You always inspire me with your heartwarming comments!

I never considered framing before either. I just learned about it as I embarked in my photography adventures. I am discovering new things everyday!

Thank you for being here for me always!

God bless!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

Great advice for any photographer. Framing a photograph can add texture, perspective and (or minimize) complexity to a composition. I had a friend who was not a photographer, but had a real knack for framing photos. It was just something he did because he liked it without thinking about it very much, and it always worked well for him. You have certainly shown how it should be done with your wonderful photos here.

Thanks for the framing suggestions--they certainly work well for you.

Mike


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Mike,

Thanks very much for your wonderful comment! I really appreciate it because you are an artist!

Your friend sounds like he is a natural artist. I only learned about the importance of framing when I started my photography.

Thanks for the visit Mike!

God bless!


abbiz profile image

abbiz 6 years ago from M-A

Hi jill, You have made an very usful hub, thanks for sharing, wish you all the best and much succes.. :)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello abbiz,

You are most welcome! My pleasure really.

Thank you very much for your heartwarming comment!

God bless!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

I'm finally back! Love this hub--it has amazing photography and clear explaination. Your juxtaposition of unframed and framed pictures says it all--it's astounding to see how a frame can highlight a picture. Rated awesome!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Anglnwu,

Nice to know you are back! I missed you!

Thanks very much for the beautiful comment and awesome rate! You really are an angel!

See you!


rprcarz50 profile image

rprcarz50 6 years ago

Thank you for this very helpful Hub !

Nice work !

Ron

As always also a2z50


Cindy Letchworth profile image

Cindy Letchworth 6 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

Some very good examples here and great tips. Thanks for reminding us photographers how to make a shot more appealing.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Ron,

You are most welcome! My pleasure really!

Thanks for the your highly encouraging comment!

All the best!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Cindy,

Nice to see you!

I'm happy if this served as a reminder to you, you who are an accomplished photographer! That tickles me pink!

Thanks very much!

God bless!


richtwf profile image

richtwf 6 years ago

Hi Jill,

Congrats on your 30,000 views! Really enjoyed your great hub with its simple and practical content. I love photography and hope to develop my primitive photographic skills along with my basic writing skills. Beautiful photos and for sure I will be returning to your hubs in the future to learn more and be inspired by your creative works of art!

Thanks for sharing and voted up and beautiful. Cheers!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Richtwf,

Thanks very much! I really appreciate your up and beautiful vote.

I'm happy to find another photography and writing enthusiast. Those are the two things I enjoy doing nowadays.

Hope to see you around. I have other photography hubs, please check them out.

God bless!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

You know- I didn't hit the funny button - but - it was fun to funny! I'm hitting that funny button too! So- frame me!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Micky,

Well, I meant this to be fun but not funny. However it's perfectly okay if you also found it funny. I am just happy that you enjoyed it.

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment.

God bless!


almasi profile image

almasi 5 years ago

Voted up and useful for a very useful hub for amateur photographers like me. Thanks.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Almasi,

Thanks very much! I'm happy that you found this useful!

Thanks for the visit. See you around!

God bless!


Vishaaa profile image

Vishaaa 5 years ago from Somewhere on this earth..

Its really great. I loved your photos. It's always a pleasure to check out your hubs. Keep clicking.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Vishaaa,

It's nice to see you again!

Thank you very much for being so supportive and leaving a wonderful comment.

God bless!


youmeget profile image

youmeget 5 years ago

I've never thought entrance to buildings, human legs... can be good frames for photos.

Beautiful hub


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello youmeget,

Thanks very much!

Oh yes, you can use almost anything to frame your photos. It's always nice to discover what frames can do.

Thanks for dropping by.

God bless!


Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

I am learning a lot from visiting your hubs. You are helping me understand better ways to use my camera. Thanks!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Debbie,

I'm happy that you learned something here. I have more photography hubs if you are interested.

Thanks very much for your visit and wonderful comment.

God bless!


TheMonk profile image

TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

I have done this by accident a few times. I always wandered then why the picture was so good. Now I know and will make sure to use this technique more often. Thank you!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello The Monk,

That's great! I'm happy that you learned something here.

You are most welcome. The pleasure is really mine.

Thanks for dropping by!

God bless!


Injured lamb profile image

Injured lamb 5 years ago

Hi jill of alltrades, thanks for your generous sharing, now I learn the trick...


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Injured lamb,

You are most welcome. The pleasure is all mine! I really enjoy sharing what I love to do.

God bless!

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