Photo Tip “Frames”

The framing of an image doesn’t mean actually placing the image in a photo frame. Instead, the meaning here is creating an image with elements that surround the main subject. Image elements that are inside this frame are of more importance. The use of frames usually results in appealing photos. For this purpose, there is an endless amount of objects and possibilities that can be used, e.g. architectural elements, plants, hole in a hall, a crevice, canopy of foliage and also shadow. Very often windows and archways are used when creating an image. There are example images to illustrate this. Frames can be angular, round or have an irregular shape and don’t have to frame the main subject completely. The framed elements can be in focus or out-of-focus. For example, two linear objects can form a horizontal, vertical or diagonal frame. A frame can be formed using the foreground or background of the image. There is basically no limitation of natural frames.

A relatively well-known type of framing is the keyhole perspective. Here the main subject is captured through an opening (wall, lattice work, a hand). Frames are often used to block out or obscure undesirable objects (e.g. power cables, road signs…).

Tips on creating an image using frames

  • Find a frame behind which an interesting event might occur. Adjust all settings such as exposure, depth of field and focus. Afterwards, simply wait and hope that something interesting happens. There is an example of this in this article (India – girl running through archway).
  • Try to fade out unwanted objects by focusing on more aesthetic objects in the foreground. This foreground can either be in focus or out-of-focus, depending on diaphragm and/or focal length.
  • Experiment using different depth of fields and note in the different image effects if the framing is in focus or out-of-focus.


Impact of framing when creating an image

  • More emphasis is placed on the elements that are inside the frame.
  • Enigmatic, mysterious, revealing, the unexpected


Here are some example images for “framing”

The following image captured in Corsica illustrates the use of leaves and foliage as a frame for the landscape in the background.

leaves and foliage as a frame for the landscape in the background

The following image captured in Corsica uses of a gap in the clouds as a frame for the trees in the foreground.

gap in the clouds as a frame for the trees i

In the following image of a mosque in Istanbul, the architectural elements are used as a frame to create this image.

mosque in Istanbul

The following image illustrates the use of architectural elements as a frame that combines natural elements and architecture. This image also shows that a frame can potentially dominate an image.

Window arches and sand dunes – Algeria – Sahara 1992

The following photograph was captured in India. The archway frames the girl’s silhouette as well as the girl’s shadow.

 Girl running through archway – India 2001

Literaturtipps zum Thema "Bildgestaltung"

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