ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Frame a Photograph

Updated on July 20, 2012
In this image the window in the temple is framing the ruins of Machu Pichu in the background.  Because of the framing with the window, the viewer can understand that the photographer was looking out at Machu Pichu from a distance.
In this image the window in the temple is framing the ruins of Machu Pichu in the background. Because of the framing with the window, the viewer can understand that the photographer was looking out at Machu Pichu from a distance. | Source

The key to taking a great photo is the composition of the image. Composition is the process of arranging things in your shot so that you can easily convey what you want to the viewer. If done right, your composition will make it easier for your viewer to understand the purpose of your image.

One technique used in composition is framing. Framing is the technique of drawing attention to the subject of your image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene.

In this image, the rock arch is framing the mountains in the background
In this image, the rock arch is framing the mountains in the background | Source

What to use to frame your image

You can "frame" your image by using many different elements of your scene. For example you may use:

  • Tree branches
  • Tunnels
  • Windows
  • People (shooting between people's shoulders or heads with the person behind them in focus)
  • Doorways
  • Arches
  • A traditional picture frame border

The frame of your image does not have to cover all of the edges like a traditional picture frame, it may just cover one or two edges of your shot. Frames may also be in the foreground or background of your image - though they are more commonly used in the foreground of the image.

The subway window used to frame this image gives it context as you know exactly where she is and what she's doing, whereas, in a close up portrait you would not have this understanding
The subway window used to frame this image gives it context as you know exactly where she is and what she's doing, whereas, in a close up portrait you would not have this understanding | Source

Why would I frame my image?

Framing your image can add a number of benefits to your image, including:

  • giving the photo context
  • drawing the viewers eye to your subject
  • adding interest to the picture
  • giving the image a sense of depth
  • creating layers within the image
  • bringing a sense of containment or organization to an image

By using the framing technique in your photography, you can take your image from "just another photo" to a spectacular photo that really conveys what you were looking to show in your image.

Take for example, the picture on the right. If this image was a close up of the girl's face, it would be just another portrait, however, by including the door of the subway you know exactly where she is and what she's doing.

The picture from Machu Pichu at the start of the hub creates interest in the image as you can understand the surroundings of Machu Pichu and it isn't the same old touristy photograph.

Framing Tips

  • Make sure the "framing" of the photo doesn't take away from the image or add too much clutter to distract the viewer
  • Always be sure that the focal point of your image is in full focus
  • Decide if you want your frame to be in focus or not - by having your frame out of focus you are putting even more emphasis on your chosen subject, however some photos will look better with the frame in focus as well as it adds context to the scene

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks! It's a great technique to keep in mind for interesting shots!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Kissayer, I had learned some of this, a long time ago, in some photography classes, but it was great to review. This is an excellent tutorial. Easy-to-read and to-the-point. Well done. Voted up and more!

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you :)

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 

      6 years ago

      Hi Kristy, To "frame" my opinion abut this : You did a Great Job Putting This Together!

      This is a great hub with so many practical tips that I will be able to use. It is beautiful to look at the pictures and to easy to read. Thanks for all your efforts and the great info. Rated up, beautiful, awesome and interesting.

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks Audrey, best of luck with your photography!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Great tips - I need all the help I can get taking photos as I'm trying to do it somewhat professionally. Bob, my husband, is so good at framing photos naturally and I'm kind of a "that looks awesome" kind of shooter. But sometimes the result isn't exactly what I wanted because I didn't frame it properly and I can't get that chance back - dang. So great tips!

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks cbpoet, please let me know if you (or anyone else) have any requests! :)

    • cbpoet profile image

      cbpoet 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Nice tips on framing. Looking forward to your next photography lesson/ blog.

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      First of all, excellent name Kristy :P

      I have done a few portraits framed in actual picture frames and they are so much fun - they look especially great if you then frame them in that same picture frame!

    • kristyleann profile image

      Kristy LeAnn 

      6 years ago from Princeton, WV

      Those are really great photos. :) That is such a neat idea too...I recently saw a picture on pinterest where a married couple were in the background and some kids were in the front holding an empty picture frame in order to frame the couple. I thought it was really cool. I would have never thought of using things that are already naturally there as frames though. :)

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You definitely have to keep an eye out for them! I've had times where I've said "ugh.. there's xxxx in the way" only to realise I could use it to frame my image.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for these tips on framing shots. This is one method of photography that I really enjoy working on. It seems, though, that the chances come up unexpectedly and that I have to be on alert for them. :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)