Compositional Framing: Tips on Using Frames Within a Photo

Compositional Framing

Framing is a compositional technique used to draw attention to the subject and add interest to the photo. This photo gallery looks at several ways to use frames within an image.

In photography, compositional framing is when the photographer uses objects within the photo to frame the main point of interest. Applying this technique to your photography helps draw the eye to the main focal point. There are unlimited ways to incorporate frames within a photo, here are a few ideas.

Consider choosing frames that show a relationship to the main focal point, such as fallen trees for a photo in the forest or driftwood for a scenic beach shot or, like in this this example, stones.

Beach Ocean Scene Framed Rocks

Try shooting from different angles to discover frames that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Young Girl and Boy Playing in Forest Leaves and Trees

As this photo shows, frames don’t need to surround the focal point entirely to be effective.

Sun Trees Haze

Framing is a great way to highlight focal points and add interest to landscape photography.

Ocean Sunset Dog Trees


When using the framing technique, you should consider the depth of field. Would the photo be more interesting if the frame was in focus or blurred? If the frame itself is interesting, you might want to ensure it’s in focus, otherwise, having a blurred frame with the subject in focus will look great. Or, like the landscape photo shown previously, having both the frame and the main focal point in sharp focus can also be effective.

Horse and Fence

Finding frames to use within a photo just takes a little imagination, nearly anything can be used as compositional frames.

Puppies in Dog House

You can even use other people or animals to frame your main point of interest.

Baby Feet Framed in Parents Heart-Shaped Hands

If you’re having a hard time finding creative frames, arches, doorways or windows are always a great place to start.

Fishing Under a Bridge

Also, take other composition techniques into consideration to add even more appeal to your photos, such as following the rule of thirds, or adding texture and contrast to your image. Here are more examples of compositional framing to help get your creative juices flowing! (Click on any image for a larger view.)


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