We often put the photos we take into frames as a way of displaying and drawing attention to our favorite photos – but there is another type of framing that you can do as you’re taking your shots that can be just as effective doing just the same thing!
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.
The benefits of framing pictures include:
1. giving the photo context (for example framing a scene with an archway can tell you something about the place you are by the architecture of the archway or including some foliage in the foreground of a shot can convey a sense of being out in nature).
2. giving images a sense of depth and layers (in essence framing a shot generally puts something in the foreground which adds an extra dimension to the shot).
3. leading the eye towards your main focal point (some ‘frames’ can draw your photo’s viewer into the picture just by their shape). Some also believe that a frame can not only draw the eye into a picture but that it keeps it there longer – giving a barrier between your subject and the outside of the shot.
4. intriguing your viewer. Sometimes it’s what you can’t see in an image that draws you into it as much as (if not more than) what you can see in the picture. Clever framing that leaves those viewing your image wondering a little or imagining what is behind your frame can be quite effective (get it wrong and it can also be quite annoying!).
Frames for photographs come in all shapes and sizes and can include shooting through overhanging branches, shooting through windows, using tunnels, arches or doorways – you can even use people (for example shooting over shoulders or between heads), etc.
Your frame doesn’t need to go completely around the edges of your image – they might just be on one or two edges of your shot.
My rule of thumb when considering framing is to ask the question – ‘will this add to or take away from the image?’ Sometimes framing can just add clutter to a shot and make it feel cramped – but at other times it can be the difference between an ordinary shot and a stunning one.
Lastly – if you do use framing techniques you also need to consider whether you want your frame to be in focus or not. In some instances a nicely blurred frame will really add a sense of mood and depth to your shots (in this case use a large aperture) but in other cases to have your frame in focus can help with adding context to the scene (in this case choose a narrow aperture.