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The Camera in My Head - Photography Tips Series #2 - Framing and Balance

Updated on February 3, 2016

Photography Tips - Framing

Framing is when your primary focal point is surrounded by something else within the photograph. Think of a picture frame... it surrounds the main focus like a window.

Framing can give depth and a sense of distance to a picture. The leaves of a nearby tree, for example can act as a window to viewing a far-away mountain.

Another purpose of "framing" is to provide direction and lead the eye to the main area you want to draw attention to. A frame can be leaves of a tree, flowers, the wall of a building, or an archway. One effective trick is to make the frame blurry. This acts as an effective way to draw focus to the most important point in the photograph.

Look at the following examples of pictures I have taken with various framing techniques. You will notice the effect as it directs your eyes to the center or outlines the main feature.

Examples of "Framing" in Photography

Leaves draw your eye to distant mountain.
Leaves draw your eye to distant mountain. | Source
Rock formation frames silhouetted bell like a picture frame.
Rock formation frames silhouetted bell like a picture frame. | Source
Shape of tree leaves follow curve of distant mountain in one fluid motion.
Shape of tree leaves follow curve of distant mountain in one fluid motion. | Source
Dark tree branches and leaves surround the distant focal point of the sailboat. The darkness of the tree helps make it invisible to the focus.
Dark tree branches and leaves surround the distant focal point of the sailboat. The darkness of the tree helps make it invisible to the focus. | Source
Tree leaves can come from various sides to accomplish the framing effect.
Tree leaves can come from various sides to accomplish the framing effect. | Source
Dark nearby leaves from several sides frame the bright colors of the distant mountain and draw attention to it easily.
Dark nearby leaves from several sides frame the bright colors of the distant mountain and draw attention to it easily. | Source
In this example, both the water and the distant mountains are the desired focal points.
In this example, both the water and the distant mountains are the desired focal points. | Source
An archway acts as a window enticing you to look through it to see the interesting structure on the other side.
An archway acts as a window enticing you to look through it to see the interesting structure on the other side. | Source
Although partially obstructed, the framing in this photograph accentuate the interesting point above.
Although partially obstructed, the framing in this photograph accentuate the interesting point above. | Source
The shape of the framing in this example not only draws the eye to look through the window, but lets you know what the most important point in the distance is.
The shape of the framing in this example not only draws the eye to look through the window, but lets you know what the most important point in the distance is. | Source

Balance in Photography

Balance is most easily achieved with reflection, but can just as easily be witnessed by shadows, geometric symmetry, and duplicate mass in focal points.

Sometimes the best way to portray balance is to take a few steps in just the right direction, kneel down, or stand on something high. People recognize a serious photographer by the size of their camera lens, and the way they stretch to get just the right shot.

Many of my photographs were taken with my iPhone because that's what I usually have with me for those unexpected gems. I also have a Nikon that is a cross-over between programmable and point-n-shoot. It has a great zoom (42X) and a few aperture and shutter speed options. So, my photographs are not professional... but I am learning how to take delightful pictures anyhow.

Here are some examples of times when I happened upon beautiful balance in nature.

Examples of Balance in Photography

Clouds both above and below this mountain create a beautiful symmetry.
Clouds both above and below this mountain create a beautiful symmetry. | Source
Still water is a great way to create balance. The reflection mimics the pattern exactly.
Still water is a great way to create balance. The reflection mimics the pattern exactly. | Source
This is another reflective balance example.
This is another reflective balance example. | Source

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    • Prepper Gal profile imageAUTHOR

      Lurlynn Potter 

      3 years ago from Spring City, UT

      Thanks Alan. I'm still learning... and I learn best from folks like you with more experience. I appreciate the encouragement.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Some nice angles, some good ones Lurlynn. They display a certain amount of 'movement', especially the one against the mountain with the trees blackened by the strong side-light.

      I used to have a Petriflex at one time, having progressed from Zenith SLRs and Praktica. The last Praktica LLT was filched from my Land Rover. Would be nice to have a D-SLR, but at the moment I make do with a Canon Powershot pocket camera.

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