Using Framing to Add Depth to Your Composition
Framing is an age-old composition trick that photographers have been using for centuries. While sometimes the framing in a photo is straightforward and obvious, other times it’s more subtle and subconscious. Let’s look at some of the ways in which a photographer can use framing to add depth to composition:
Windows and Doorways
This is probably the most obvious way to add a frame. It’s also the most cliché, but I still can’t help but like the look of it. Usually framing your composition through a window yields a contrasty scene, requiring the use of HDR to bring out the full dynamic range.
Foliage is another popular way to frame a photo. I especially like it when used it conjunction with a wide angle lens; having the foliage creep into the top of the frame often adds character to an uninspiring sky.
Arches and Open Air Structures
Just like windows and doorways, arches and outdoor structures offer another easy way to frame a subject. Remember that the whole structure does not have to appear in the photo in order to frame it, but sometimes it can.
Fences are a less common way to frame photos. As many styles as there are of fences, there are ways to frame photos with them. You can isolate one part of the fence to frame the photo, or you can use the whole fence as a frame.
Tall buildings can also be used to frame photos, similarly to the way foliage can. When used with a wide angle or fisheye lens, the buildings have the appearance of curving in towards the center of the image.
Frame Within a Frame
Multiple framing elements mean multiple layers of interest. Combining an arch with some foliage makes for a great frame within a frame.
Really anything can be used as a frame, if you’re clever enough to compose it properly. Before you compose your next shot, think about how you can add a framing element to make it more interesting.
All photos in this post are © Samantha Decker and may not be used without permission.