1. The technique of using elements within an image to create a ‘frame’ around the subject, thereby drawing focus to it.
  2. A compositional strategy that uses existing shapes, structures, or objects to enclose or highlight the primary area of interest.
  3. Often employed to add depth, context, or layers to a photograph.


Framing is a fundamental concept in the realm of photography, one that enhances both the aesthetic and narrative qualities of an image. By using elements within a photo’s environment to encase or highlight the primary subject, framing serves to guide the viewer’s eyes to a focal point. This technique not only emphasizes the subject but also adds a layer of depth and context to the image.

How It Works

Elements Used for Framing

Various elements can be used for framing, such as:

  • Natural Elements: Trees, mountains, clouds
  • Architectural Structures: Doors, windows, archways
  • Objects: Mirrors, frames, fences


To achieve effective framing:

  1. Identify the primary subject of your photograph.
  2. Look for elements within the scene that can naturally surround or draw attention to the subject.
  3. Position your camera so that these elements create a ‘frame’ around the subject.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  1. Emphasis on Subject: Framing helps to guide the viewer’s attention directly to the primary area of interest.
  2. Added Depth: The layering effect creates a sense of three-dimensionality, providing depth to a photo.
  3. Contextual Richness: Framing can add context or a storyline to the image, enriching its narrative potential.


  1. Overcomplication: The inclusion of too many elements for framing could clutter the image, causing distraction rather than focus.
  2. Forced Composition: Sometimes, trying too hard to incorporate framing can result in a photo that looks artificial or staged.

Best Practices

Compositional Tips

  • Choose framing elements that complement the subject, either by contrast or similarity, to create a harmonious image.
  • Ensure that the framing does not overshadow the subject. The frame should accentuate, not dominate.
  • Be mindful of lighting conditions. The framing elements should neither be too dark to obscure nor too bright to distract.

Technical Aspects

  • Framing can often be adjusted or fine-tuned in post-processing, but it is usually more effective when done in-camera.
  • Adjust aperture settings to manage the depth of field, deciding what parts of the framing should be in focus relative to the subject.


Framing is a versatile compositional technique employed to draw attention to the subject of a photograph. By using elements within the environment, it adds depth and context, thereby enriching the viewer’s experience. However, it’s crucial to balance these elements to ensure they complement rather than compete with the primary subject.

Sebastian Chase
Sebastian Chase

Sebasitan Chase is a mobile digital photographer who enjoys trying out new mobile technologies, and figuring out how to get them to deliver high-quality images with minimal effort.Join him on his mission to help mobile photographers create incredible images and videos with their new-age digital cameras, no matter the form that they may take.

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