use framing in your composition

This article shows you how to Use Framing in Your Composition to improve your photography. It's like putting icing on a cake. It tastes good as it is, but when you add that little extra, it tickles your tastebuds and makes you smile.

With a photo, you can have a nice image like the one below, but it even sweeter with the addition of a little "framing" technique. Framing is including other elements in your composition that naturally surround your main subject and make it emphasized.

Photo Composition with pretty blue sky by no framing device on top

This photo is of an historical building, where the "Heroine of Red Bank" bravely stayed put while under attack from the British soldiers in the Revolutionary War in 1777.

I first took the traditional, straight-in-front photo with the deep blue sky and the healthy green grass providing a nice color contrast with the red brick building.

In the photo composition below I moved about 20 feet to my left and used the tree branches to frame in my main subject, the house, from above.  Particularly in landscape and architectural photography, you can use framing in your composition by moving around to find existing structures, light patterns or other elements that can cause us to focus our eyes more on the main subject.

Composition With Trees as Framing Device

This would have been an even better photo if I could have waited another hour or so for the sun to move higher in the sky.  It was taken with the sun coming up behind me toward the house.

The shadowed shrubs and grass area in front of the porch on the left side of the structure would have been illuminated by the sun better and would also have better framed in the composition in the lower left portion of the photo by the shadows from the trees.

Second Example on How to Use Framing in Your Composition

Here's another similar example of using framing in a landscape photo.In this photo, the boat is too far away to make it a great photo. It's still a pretty scene with the grass and the tree branches framing in the bay and the distant mountains. 

2nd example of using framing in your photoExample of using framing

How could I have made it better? If I had a much longer lens, I could have backed up a little farther away from the tree branches and zoomed in farther to get the same framing. That way the branches would have been about the same, but the boat would have appeared bigger in the photograph.

Sometimes you don't have any way of finding framing elements around you. They're just not there in all situations. The key is to remember to look for them. Using framing in your photography is just one more technique of many to get your photos to shine above the others.

realted articles on composition in photography

Photo Composition.  Ten ways you can improve the composition of any photograph you take.

Photography Rule of Thirds.  Likely the most well known and most widely used rules of composition. Sometimes it should be broken, but understanding it and using when appropriate takes your photography up at least one notch.

Photography Composition Tips.  Your choice of perspective, changing your camera distance, lens setting, combined with framing and the use of the rule of thirds.

Depth of Field.  Abbreviated as DOF, depth of field impacts your composition by giving you control over what is emphasized by sharpness within the frame of your photograph.  Knowing what camera settings to use to control the range of things in focus affect your photo's composition dramatically.

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