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Composition techniques. Master photographic framing and create powerful shots

June 07, 2021
  • 5,511
  • 6 min


Learning composition is essential if you want to become better at photography. There are many beautiful ways to compose your photos – and framing is one of them. It’s a beautiful technique that helps photographers focus on the main element of a photo and tell a story with it.

What is framing and what’s it for?

In photography, framing is one of the basic composition techniques. It draws attention to the subject of the photo by creating a literal frame around it from things you have on the set. The frame can be anything from shadows and props you brought with you on the shoot to trees and windows.


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A post shared by Baykar Sepoyan (@xtrafrezsh)

If used correctly, this technique can help you create truly powerful pictures. Here’s what a simple frame can do: 

Grab attention

First of all, framing helps manipulate the viewer’s attention. By putting a frame around your subject you emphasize it and lead everyone’s eyeballs to it. 

Add depth to the shot 

Usually, the frame creates an extra layer in your picture. This makes the photo look less flat and adds a 3D feeling to it, which can’t be bad. 

Balance the picture 

A frame is a great way to balance the main subject of the shot and the rest of the scene. Basically, it hides all the unnecessary details and helps to focus on only one thing at a time.

Tell a story

Last but not least, a frame can be a statement. It can sharply contrast with the main subject of your photo or, on the contrary, complement it. In both cases, it provides context and helps the photographer to tell a story with their picture.

Types of framing you can start practicing right now

There are plenty of things you can frame your shots with. Here are some ideas to help you start off: 

Natural framing

Use trees, bushes, stones, or mountains in your vicinity to frame your subject. Enter a cave with a beautiful entrance and shoot from inside of it. Get close to colorful flowers and place your subject between them. Nature gives us endless wonderful and unique framing opportunities for our shots – we only need to see them.


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A post shared by Indra Iswanto (@indraiswanto84)

Architectural framing

Windows and doorways are the easiest frames to shoot through you can possibly find. But architectural framing isn’t limited to only windows and doors, of course. You can place your subjects in between buildings, in arches, under beautiful staircases, behind fences, and so on. Try different angles and perspectives to get the perfect shot.


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Framing using light and shadows

Sometimes all it takes is a nice shadow and direct light to make an amazing frame. Look carefully at the patterns light creates on the ground and on the walls – and you’ll definitely find the perfect composition for your shot.  


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A post shared by Deepak Chaudhary (@_dc_creativity_)

Framing with random things around you 

Look around! Wherever you are, you’ll find things to create a frame with. Mirrors, showcases, curtains, chairs, traffic signs, billboards – anything can become a frame if you find the right angle.  


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A post shared by Bharat Thakkar (@bharat2794)

Framing with body

Yes, even a person can be a frame! If you’re working with a model, ask them to place their hands around their faces or to play with their hair and clothing. Another way is to use someone’s hands as a frame for a different subject.

Framing with props

If you don’t see anything around you that could frame your subject, use props! It could be an actual baguette frame, a hand mirror, or basically anything you can shoot through. 


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How to frame pictures better

✔️ If you’re not sure about the composition, try taking a picture of your subject first without a frame. 

✔️ Make sure to set the focus on your subject, and not on the frame – unless you want the frame to become the main hero of the photograph. Basically, make sharp whatever you want to drag viewers’ attention to. 

✔️ Don’t make the frame too bright – this will confuse viewers and distract them from the main focus of the shot.

✔️ Make your picture interesting. Framing itself shouldn’t the only exciting thing in the picture. If there’s nothing else to see except for the frame, chances are the picture won’t get too much attention.  


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A post shared by Baykar Sepoyan (@xtrafrezsh)

How to edit a framed picture

A rare picture doesn’t need editing at all. And even if you want your pictures to be as naturalistic as possible, it’s still good to have a simple photo editing program to fix some minor errors and adjust colors when needed.

Here’s how you can make your framed shots look better using almost any photo editor – be it for beginners or professionals.

  • Try increasing the brightness and the contrast of the picture. This could emphasize your frame and make it more noticeable. 
  • If you’re not quite happy with a picture, try applying a filter to it. For example, some shots glow up if you make them black and white. That especially applies to framed shots. 
  • Add grain to a photo – maybe with a little vintage touch, your framed photo will look better. 
  • Try adding a vignette to increase the effect of a photo. 

All these things you can do in Movavi Picverse, a perfect photo editing application for beginners and amateurs. This software boasts truly powerful features and useful AI tools and at the same time, it provides you with a clean and intuitive interface to make the editing process super easy and fun.


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A post shared by Shubham (@shubham_masalkar_0612)

That’s it! Now you have all the tools to go and create better shots. Keep practicing and good luck 😉 



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