Using Framing in Photography Compositions to Draw Interest

In previous lessons, we’ve been getting pretty heavily into scientific and technical issues, so today I wanted to step back and talk about one of the softer techniques. For today’s photo tip, we’ll move back into landscape photography composition. Framing is one of the major photo composition ideas and is a strategy that you should be using.

The composition strategy you select is important in creating a pleasing, contest-winning photo. So, for this series of landscape photography composition ideas, we’ll get started with framing. And no, I’m not talking about the frame you buy and put your finished photo into. I’m talking about framing as a composition technique in a photo to help direct the viewer’s eye.

framing your subject

photo by Chad Routh

The idea is to have some sort of visual frame in the foreground that surrounds the subject you want to draw the viewer’s attention toward (the “star” of your photo).

A common framing device is to have your main subject positioned somewhat in the center of the photo and in the foreground you will have large tree trunks going up either side of the image and branches going across the top to effectively frame the subject and draw the eye to it.

Another popular framing idea is to shoot from inside a building (old beat up barns work well for this) and have your main subject framed in the door or window.

how to frame using a window

photo by Nan Fry

We’ve previously discussed how the eye is drawn to the lightest part of a portrait. Well, the eye is drawn to the lightest part of landscape photography, too! The dark interior walls surrounding (framing) the lighter outside main subject can’t help but draw the eye.

Another example, taking the concept of framing literally, I once took a picture of a group of dancers—there were 5 or 6 of them as I recall. The photo was a just for fun portrait, not a formal dance troupe thing. I literally had the young ladies holding onto and looking at the camera through a photo frame! (The kind you buy to put around your finished photos.) All of their heads were in the frame while their bodies were going off in all directions!

We not only had a lot of fun, but the girls (and their parents) loved it and all of them bought a copy.

picture frame in photo

photo by Prayitno

While you’re thinking outside the box, try thinking inside the frame!

Take today’s photography composition tip—framing—and get out there this weekend! Find some ways to frame your subjects. Do some of the cliché frames, but also try for some unique ones you haven’t seen before! It’s fun. As photo composition ideas go, framing is one of the big ones!

About the Author:
Dan Eitreim writes for OnTargetPhotoTraining. He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. His philosophy is that learning photography is easy if you know a few tried and true strategies.

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One response to “Using Framing in Photography Compositions to Draw Interest”

  1. ved says:

    wow, I can’t believe my photo is featured in the article. thank you!

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