What Does Framing Mean in Photography

What Does Framing Mean in Photography?

In Rules of Composition by Stefano Caioni Leave a Comment

If you’re wondering what does framing mean in photography you’re in the right place.

The framing technique is often seen on Instagram, in fact, it’s trend that has gained great popularity these days.

What Does Framing Mean in Photography

As a photographer, you aim at bringing attention to a particular point or subject in your photos. Being the subject a person, a pet, a tree, or any other object you can think of, you’re often trying to isolate it from the rest of your image. Using framing you can tell a story, you can bring context to a moment, and literally you can obtain several different items on the scene to create a frame for your subject and compose your shot with it.

In this article let’s discover more about what framing means in photography and how to use framing to create better compositions.


Definition Of Framing In Photography

‘Framing’ is, as I said, a technique that helps you bring focus on your subject. You may have used digital frames in photography, such as the ones you can activate on your camera LCD screen.

But, natural elements around a subject can also be used for framing.

What Does Framing Mean in Photography

‘Framing’ enhances the importance and significance of the subject in your photos. As a result, your images become more interesting. The following explanation will help you answer the question – what does framing mean in photography.

For instance – You can use a door, window, grass, trees, a hole in the wall, lights or shapes to frame a subject. This technique will help you to make your subject noticeable.

Make Your Image More Interesting

‘Framing’ can definitely make a photo interesting. The technique is used to present the frame secondary or less interesting. But, at the same time, the frame leaves a footprint in the mind of the viewer.

What Does Framing Mean in Photography

For instance – A camera captures a boy standing in front of a door. Now, a viewer is focusing on the boy. But the door is evoking a homely feeling. Hence, your image is reflecting something more.

Leading The Eye of The Viewer

The subtle technique of ‘Framing’ can help a viewer to focus on a particular subject. Sometimes, an image may have two or more subjects. In that case, a viewer may fail to understand the real purpose behind the shot.

Hence, ‘framing’ is required. You can put your subject inside the frame and the viewer will easily understand – what your image is trying to express.


Apart from that, to make your subject interesting you can do different experiments on ‘Framing’. You can blur the frame or you can put an irrelevant frame around your subject. But, framing doesn’t mean that you have to keep a frame perfectly around your subject. You can frame either side of the subject. You should remember that the main purpose of ‘Framing’ is to make an image engaging. So, the viewer focuses on your photo a little longer.

Elements of Framing in Photography:

Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes mean different types of shapes. But, the shape must have a sense of completeness. It can be a square, triangle, circle, or a rectangle. The shape will be around your subject and it would be obvious.

For Instance – you see an insect in grassy land. Now, you can make the circling grass a frame to capture the insect. This will take a viewer’s attention completely on the insect.

Natural Elements

Nature has so many interesting and beautiful frames. It’s a skill to find out a perfect frame from the heart of the Nature. Trees, bushes, mountains, grasses, formations of stones, flowers, branches, rivers, deserts, plants, and more elements can be found in nature.

Furthermore, you can also use weather conditions to form an interesting frame. Rainy weather or foggy weather can help you to make a frame.

For instance – You capture a car’s headlight on a foggy road. Here, the car is the subject and the foggy weather becomes secondary.

Architectural Elements

Man-made architectures can provide you with great ideas to form a frame. You can use doors, windows, tunnels, car windows, train compartments, holes in the walls, railings, and more places to capture a subject with a frame.

framing composition

The most interesting architectural element is your house. You can experience so many moments in the house. If you use a door frame or a keyhole to capture a moment, it would be surely interesting. In reality, architectural elements always have some stories behind them. It’s your job is to capture the moment inside the right frame. That’s all you need, to shoot a memorable image.

Lights and Shadows

Lights and shadows create some beautiful and subtle frames. But, it’s not so easy to use lights or shadows. Natural light or artificial light can be used to form a frame. You can also use shadows to frame your subject.

Now, lights or shadows can be used in two ways.

What Does Framing Mean in Photography

First – you can focus your subject using the ray of light. At this moment, a shadow may not be so important. The light itself can lead the eye of the viewer.

Second – you can use shadows to hide the irrelevant things around your subject. In that case, your subject must be under proper light. Here, shadows are automatically helping a viewer to focus on the subject.

See more examples of framing in photography here.

In Conclusion

Now you know more about framing and when your out and about, taking photos in nature or in any environment, look for elements to use as frames for your subject.

The more you practice the more you’ll notice that framing is easier than it seems at first. Everything around you can be used as a frame for your photography composition. All you need to do is use your imagination and get creative.

It’s time to get out and take photos. Will you use natural elements such as the branches of a tree or maybe you’ll take advantage of an actual fence?

Let us know in the comments below!

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