5 easy composition rules to improve your photography: #2 framing

the rules of composition in photography were created as a guideline for what works to create a good photo

There is no right or wrong way to do photography. In the end, it all comes back to the perspective of the photographer, and the viewer of the photograph, as to what a good picture looks like. But every photographer still needs to consider the rules of composition when beginning their journey in photography, because once you understand these rules, your photos will improve and creating stunning images will become more natural to you.


Framing, or creating a ‘frame within the frame’, is simply using other objects in your photograph to frame the main subject. It’s a great technique that brings more depth to the picture and a better focus on what the main subject is.

There are a couple of different ways to create a ‘frame within the frame’:

  • using architectural elements  – doorways, window frames, archways – is probably the most obvious way to frame a subject, and
  • using your environment to frame your subject. Trees can wrap around a subject and if you move around and look you might be able to frame your subject with the branches.  Try photographing through grasses, flowers, or bushes to bring more attention to your subject by creating a blurred foreground. If you’re in a crowded room, use the people in the foreground to frame your subject.  Or alternatively, use your subject’s body parts to create a frame around their face.

Here are some examples of framing:

framing an image using a doorway and shadow

in this image, I’ve framed my Boy with the doorway as he was walking through it

framing the subject by using a window

not a conventional ‘framing through a window’, but it works

framing an image using trees

here I’ve used the trees to lead your eye to the fog and tower on top of the hill

Framing your subject using other people.

when my Girl left home for her first job, I framed her through other people walking down the gangway. For me, this is a powerfully emotional image

And my top tip?  The ‘frame’ does not necessarily have to surround the entire scene to be effective!

Remember, like the rule of thirds from last week, that framing is just a tool. It may, or may not, help you add something to your image.

look for frames

Notice them. But don’t force them. If it works, use it.  If it doesn’t, leave it out!

Looking for the first installment in this series? You’ll find #1 the rule of thirds here.

In the comments this week:

How did you go with the rule of thirds last week?  Get some great images?  Now it’s time to practice framing.  And don’t forget to share your favourites!

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