30. June 2015 · Comments Off on Composition – Framing – no not the wood around the photo · Categories: Composition, Practice · Tags: , , , ,

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern. “

Alfred North Whitehead

Dancing Trees

There are several composition topics in photography that are most easily learned through examples rather than prose.  I thought I would write a series of articles on several of these with a few photos in each to help illustrate the point.

I’m starting with framing because it was one of the easier ones to start with, not because it is more or less important, but just easier for me to write about.

One way to look at framing is that the subject around the edge draws your attention to the main focus point.  I would encourage you to log onto 500px.com and see what you can identify as successfully framed photos.

Laurie in Little Wild Horse slot canyon

It could be reasonably argued that the above photo is really about lines, but notice how we have both lines and color framing my wife.

The photo below is an example of classical framing.CRW_0598You probably recognize this type of framing from travel post cards.

For the opening photo, notice how the branches frame the moon.   This would not have been as effective if the branch split the moon.  This also illustrates that not all framing needs to symmetrical in position or content.

Early morning light catching the spray from a waterfall

This photo illustrates a classic concept involved with framing; that is that the borders or the frame is darker than the central point of focus.  Eyes are typically drawn to the bright parts of the photo.


In this example, the bright trees frame the waterfall which is itself framed by the dark rock.  This photo illustrates again that framing does not need to be symmetrical, nor even conventional with bright being the framing of the waterfall.


This photo is again asymmetrical framing, this time of El Capitan framed with trees.

The challenge to you is to experiment with framing in your photos and decide what works and does not work for your photos.

“If you see a whole thing – it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives… But up close a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.”   Ursula K. Le Guin

Check out other images for framing or the lack there of… on my website