When you think of framing a shot the first thing that comes to mind may be matting and placing the photo into an actual frame, but that’s not the topic discussion we’re going to have today. Rather I’m talking about setting up the shot to include foreground elements that would often otherwise be considered in the way or trivial. These elements have a way of taking the viewer into another world, looking in through a window and into the picture you’ve taken. While framing elements in the scene in the way we’re going to cover today definitely doesn’t apply to every photo out there, it can help you create a more unique or creative photo opportunity than an otherwise straight shot of your initial subject would have.
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Going on vacation can often lead to amazing views of a countryside, the sweeping vistas of a mountain range, or the glorious sunsets on a beach. If you’re fortunate enough to have a view from the room you’re staying in of this natural beauty you might find yourself taking a picture of the window that looks upon such a majestic view. This is the first part of the tip and it helps give the photo some context for the viewer. While taking a picture of the mountains, beach or where ever you’re staying can be amazing, using something such as an open window to see out into the scene lets your viewer know that you’re looking out from a building which may have some significance in and of itself.
This sort of technique also adds a sense of depth to your picture that it may otherwise not have had. A mountainous scene for instance keeps the viewers eyes on the background at all times, but with the window in the scene you might find the viewer studying the picture for far longer as the window frame could be just as appealing in the shot as the scenery. You’ll also find that framing a shot in this way could lead the eyes of the viewer to a main focal point. Looking through a window is a natural thing for people to do, so using this as a set piece makes viewing the photo feel more natural and will likely make it more interesting too.
Lastly framing could certainly bring more intrigue into the photo as a whole. Making the frame the point of focus while the background is out of focus could lead the viewer into imagining exactly what’s out there to find. You could invoke a sense of exploration and mystery by not showing the whole scene, and again as a result making the picture a more interesting one over time. In my example photo I used the barbed wire on a fence leading to a massive field that’s ripe for exploration. Framing a subject can be anything from a fence to an overhanging tree branch, looking through a window, door or tunnel, or even through a room of crowded people to someone specific you’re trying to capture.
Frames don’t have to be thought of as something that goes around the entire border of the shot, just a foreground element that eventually leads the eyes of the viewer to the background element. If you’re looking to show off your framing skills or just have a great shot that you’ve taken in the past few days or weeks feel free to enter our bi-monthly photography competition. We’ll announce the champions next week and provide a new challenge for you to meet!