Framing Your Subject: How The Use Of Framing Makes Your Image Stronger
one of the most powerful ways to bring attention to, and maintain attention on, your photo is through the use of framing. framing your subject in an image is much like framing a picture in a picture frame, you are surrounding your subject with a barrier. this doesn’t have to be straight lines, it can be any surrounding that surrounds your subject. framing is a very useful way to make a strong image because, through the use of framing, your are showcasing your subject. when your subject is framed by something else, it shows the viewer exactly where you want them to focus their attention. also, because you are buffering your subject with a natural frame, you are encouraging your viewer’s eye to stay on your subject instead of wander off towards the edges of the frame. the natural framing encourages the viewer’s eye away from the edges of the frame and towards your subject. to bring more clarity to how you can frame your subject, check out the examples below.
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Framing Your Subject : How The Use of Framing Makes Your Image Stronger
while framing your subject can be done with practically any lens, i find it easiest to incorporate framing into my images when i use my sigma 24mm f/1.4 art lens. because it is a wide angle lens, it allows me to get more of my surroundings within the frame, allowing me the opportunity to incorporate elements i want to use to frame my subject, as well as my subject itself.
framing can be done through the use of anything that has an opening or that you can see through, such as tubes, glass, openings in trees, etc. in the image above, i incorporated framing into the image by using the hanging lights in our dining room to frame my daughter, eating in her high chair.
most commonly done, framing can be accomplished through the use of windows and doorways. windows and doorways provide a natural square or rectangular frame the lends very nicely to framing your subject. in the image above i used a doorway to frame my daughter and i in the image. through thoughtful use of light, i also framed us in bright light, while using darker edges to surround us and to further frame us. the contrast between light and dark also acts as a frame, keeping the viewer’s eye from wandering to the edge of the frame and, instead, encouraging the viewer to place their focus on the intentioned subjects.
it’s important to note that your frame doesn’t necessarily have to have four sides, like a picture frame does. it simply acts as a cushion for your subject. in the image above, i framed the two puppies in the natural frame of the doorway.
you can either photograph your subject on the same focal plane as the item you are framing with or you can blur your framing by placing your subject and your framing element on two different focal planes. in the previous example of the baby framed by the dining room lights, the framed item (the lights) were on a different focal plane than the baby (the subject), so they created a soft frame as they were blurred in the foreground. in the example above, the baby’s hand (subject) and the crib rails (frame) are on the same focal plane, both achieving focus. neither technique is right or wrong, it simply depends on the look you are going for.
framing your subject is a really fun way to bring more interest to your photograph. it allows you to keep your viewer’s eye on your subject as your framing elements discourage their eye from wandering towards the edge of the frame. in turn, this makes your image so much stronger because your viewer is keeping their attention where you want it to be, for a longer amount of time. there are so many things you can use to frame your subject, the possibilities are truly endless.
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