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Photography Composition and Framing

Updated on April 10, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.


(CC BY 2.0
(CC BY 2.0 | Source

Often the framing of a subject happens by accident. Other times it is done on purpose. Regardless or whether it is done on purpose or it happens by chance, the photographer must always be attentive to what is seen through the lens.

Keeping a visual target and purposely taking the shot ensures that most pictures are correct from a composition point of view and it enhances the chances of capturing images that offer the viewer a more pleasant scene.

Although enforcing a framing technique appears restrictive, it allows for the photographer, especially amateurs, to let their creativity come through since they have to be thinking about framing, composing and infusing visually stimulating elements into their photographs.

There are many photographic techniques that can help make any photographer that much better and helps make the composition more pleasing to the eye.

One such technique is commonly called framing. Basically the photographer frames a subject within another frame, thus the subject is seen as being within a boundary that is inside another boundary; that is the photograph itself.

The main usefulness of this technique is that it makes the eye focus closer on the main subject thus allowing for the viewer to remain looking at the photograph longer and it is very useful in photographs that are used to advertise something although this is not always the case.

In essence the technique of framing is the method by which the photographer attempts to draw attention to the subject of the image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene.

Framing has several benefits; by framing you are giving the giving the photograph more of a context since viewers use the interior boundary to size up the main subject thus allowing them to make a decision as to its size and distance as well as allowing for the photograph to have more depth of field.

Framing also gives the photograph a sense of layers and it is similar to adding dept of filed. Elements withing the scene are measured against each other and this creates more of an interesting composition.

Framing adds the intrigue element since the viewer tends to explore the photograph in order to decide what could be behind the subject, next to it or the subject's location.

Something to consider, the interior frame is really a boundary and any boundary will serve to make the technique work. Also important is to decide whether or not you want to leave the boundary in clear focus or out of focus. Either way the technique works too.

The boundary does not have to go all the way around the subject. Whether the boundary is on the sides or in back of the main subject or even if you only show portions is really irrelevant as all serve the technique well so far as its composition.


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public domain | Source

Have you taken photographs this way before?

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The easiest way to see the technique in action is to look at photographs that have been mounted in frames. Many photographers mount their images in a glass picture frame and the pictures takes all the available room.

But there are pictures that are framed with a carton cover and the cover plus the image are then inserted into a glass picture frame.

This is the technique in action. The carton frame directs the view towards the center thus towards the main subject within the photograph itself.

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CC BY 2.0 | Source
 Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported | Source

If you really want to see more striking examples of good framing then you have to look no further than many photographs of reflections.

If a subject' image is being reflected from a surface that itself is a shape like a drop of water, a mirror, a glass ball, a puddle in the street and so on, then you have a ready made barrier on which to frame another subject.

These surface themselves form the exterior barriers that surround or encompass the subject and the composition fits the theme really well.

Not only do these reflected images are examples of good framing but by their subject matter are intriguing in and on themselves. Plus they all strongly focus the viewer's attention to the subject in the reflection.

As an added bonus it also lets viewers explore the aspects of the composition and the technical prowess that is involved in creating such images.

CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

Becoming a good photographer takes time and practice. Creativity, artistry, good knowledge of technical aspect and a good eye are important and can lead you to eventually be able to capture great images.

But one thing is constant; the more techniques that you get to know and master the better your chances are that by applying these techniques you will be able to expand your photographic horizon.

Knowing the rules of photography does not mean that you cannot break these rules from time to time. Knowing and understanding many techniques means that you can also play with them and come up with new ways of capturing breathtaking images.

Bottom line is that you should learn as much as you can so that you can grow into the photographer that you always dreamed of becoming.

Some things happen by chance but it is better to make things happen because you wanted them to happen.

Now go out and take as many shots as you can!

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      teaches12345: Thanks, glad it helped

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I learned something here today. I do love the photo examples posted on framing and can see how it makes a big difference.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      freecampingaussie: Thank you , glad you liked it

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      I enjoyed your hub as I like to take photos that are different & try frame them between trees or other objects when possible . I have been meaning to buy a light bulb to try out as well . Came across you while hub hopping. Voting you up.