frame within a frame

How to frame a photo within a frame for a better composition

The most important and exciting part of photography has to be the composition. Not the technical properties of the camera, not the subject, but the way you play with forms, textures, geometries, colors etc. One of the most used principles in a composition is framing with a frame.

Imagine you are looking at a window, just like you are looking in your camera viewfinder. But instead of touching the glass with your eye, you are looking from the distance. The window will be included into your sight. The main subject is in the background, but it catches the entire attention. The aim of the frame is to highlight the subject. As a pedestal, if you wish.

The Technique

When you are doing frame within a frame you have to pay attention to the subject. It will be in the background, but the frame cannot overwhelm it. You can choose to focus on the frame or on the subject, but the subject is the most important piece.

A frame within a frame gives depth to the image. Use a telephoto lens to narrow the field of view and magnify the subject.

Pay attention to exposure. Some frames may be very dark, while the subject is in full light. Work out your exposure so that you have details both on your frame and on your subject. If there is nothing moving in your picture, you can try to take two shots: one with the proper exposure for the frame and one with the proper exposure for the subject. In post-processing, you can combine them into the perfect picture.

The frame doesn’t have to be solid and real all the time. Use Lensbaby lens to get a special blur effect around your subject. This is still called a frame.

What are the best subjects for a frame within a frame?

When it comes to best subjects there is no rule. Still, a picture is a story and you have to link the frame to the subject through a narrative chain. For example, a house viewed through an old wooden frame will give a clue about the history of that place. A mountain viewed through the branches of a tree can tell what season it is. A subject viewed through the window of a train can say a thing or two about a trip. Frame within a frame is a technique used for telling stories. So let your imagination free and allow yourself to see.

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