Tutorial: Framing Your Subject
You've Been Framed!
Frame Your Subject
Frame your subjects to add visual interest to your travel photos
Nothing makes a good picture look great like a picture frame. A frame completes the image. You can build a frame into the composition of the picture to create a great look to the image as well, by shooting the photo of your subject through some boundary or border. This is referred to as "framing" your shot.
The photo to your right is the Duomo in Florence, as seen through my apartment window. The view of the Duomo from my apartment was incredible, and I took several pictures through the window. In this case, however, I wanted to show what kind of view I had. This picture shows how close the apartment was to the Duomo, and how incredibly dominating this amazing cathedral is.
By framing the shot with the window, I captured a great deal more than just the Duomo itself. As is often the case, the way you compose a photograph defines the message your photo actually conveys.
Here are two examples of framing photos with door arches. The first, in St. Marks Square in Venice, adds visual interest and provides depth to the photo. The two people in front give the photo a subject as well. The photo on the right is the Bargello in Florence. This framing is more subtle, but it makes you feel like you're there, looking out to the courtyard from inside the building.
This photo, taken at the Forum in Rome, shows a different type of frame. In this case, the frame is formed by the pillar and cross beam of a building's ruin.
In this photo, the frame is a key part of the subject as well as a compositional device that frames the Roman ruins in the background.
You can use many things for frames. Doors and windows are obvious choices. Archways, tree limbs, even people's arms can be used in the proper situation.
Here we come at framing from a completely different direction. In this case, the frame doesn't surround the subject. The frame IS the subject. It's a unique composition that highlights the shape of the Duomo, and stands alone as it is. However, if I were to use this as the cover of a book, for example, and put the title or other text in the sky area, imagine how nicely the building would frame that text.
Framing isn't a compositional technique that you use all the time, but it's an excellent tool to keep in your toolbox. Keep your eyes open to opportunities to create a picture through some kind of frame and you'll find these photos to be some of your most memorable.
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