Framing Your Photo Within an Image.

By Jon Gillies
When taking a photograph it is natural to try to avoid things that are in the way of the subject. Most point and shoot images you will find the subject (Little Bobby) standing front and centre and the wonderful scenic view in the background. In this edition I an going to encourage you to throw out the rule of thirds and try to stick stuff in front of the focal point of the image to frame the subject.
People pay big money for framing finished work but I am not discussing post framing, I want you to explore the possibilities of framing the subject when taking the photo. There are two main areas that I wish to discuss. One, framing your subject using natural surroundings in front of the subject. Two, framing your subject by finding an interesting background.

Our eyes naturally look at an image from the top left to the right just like we are reading a book. The contents of the image will influence if our eyes travel through the image and out the other side or if we are stopped to study what we see.


Framing an image causes our eyes to be brought back into the image and not leave the other side.

I used trees to draw the viewer into the picture. The sunset is not very interesting by its self but when I frame it with the trees, it causes the viewer to study the sunset longer that if they were not there. The eyes are captured. 
The frame does not have to be all around the image like a traditional frame. The composition of the image may call for a frame on only one side. Give it a try.


In this concept the photographer places the subject in front of an object that will bring focus on the subject. Portrait photographers will use this concept in the form of a  backdrop to bring the focus on the subject.
I am not encouraging moving or sitting a natural object onto something (I believe in looking for nature where it sits) but look for something that catches your eye. An example could be a mushroom growing from a log where you can take the photo close enough so the log is surrounding the mushroom. A car in front of an old wall can lead to great composition. One piece of advice is try to look for items that contrast. I mean light background to a dark subject.


Something has to be said about the rules of thirds in this project. You may find that you are breaking the rules for a framed image. That is Ok I believe that the rules are recommendations only. The frame does not have to follow any rules as long as you like what you get in the end but the subject within the photo should still follow th rules of thirds.


Go out and find at least two images that you can try the natural frames in front and behind the subject.

2 responses to “Framing Your Photo Within an Image.

  1. Hi there Jon;
    Great to see your site. Now the whole world can follow your advice.
    Still in the local photo-club. Got me a spanking-new Nikon D7000 Camera. Not had any time with it outside yet.
    My latest kick is Photos by Candlelight, that is also our new theme for the photo-club for February.
    Any-way Jon, it is good to hear from you and all the best of 2011.

    Cheers! John

  2. Thanks Jon for the great information and direction in our photo club… You are a great teacher…
    Cheers Alvena

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