10. Framing

Framing is a composition technique used for attracting the attention of the viewer. It involves placing a frame around the subject of the photograph. Haven’t we all done it at home with a picture frame? This frame can be created in the photo itself out of the very elements of the composition.

When is it worth framing in a photo? Definitely when the subject is a bit desolate in the photograph; when there is a lot useless space but either we can’t or we don’t want to come closer to the subject. What can we frame it with? We can look for trees, branches, rocks or artificial elements like doors or windows, traffic lights, buildings… The fact is that the possibilities are endless.

The result is always elegant and strengthens the photo by drawing the eye to the subject.

Undoubtedly, this technique should be attempted when shooting the photo, because adding it in the lab through a photomontage will take away from its appeal.


Example 1 Framing

Fins la propera Lluis Ribes i Portillo

"Fins la propera", Barcelona (2009)

The day they closed the market of Sant Antoni for restoration in 2009. Here I shot the photo through the keyhole of one of the main doors. The frame that it creates gives a different touch to the photo and centers the view on this mysterious space that will be closed off for a while. As I explain in the following example, the trick for creating a frame is the measurement of the light that we will concentrate on the main subject.

Example 2 Framing

Entrant al Taj Mahal Lluis Ribes i Portillo

"Entrant al Taj Mahal", Agra (2009)

A classic example of framing is the Taj Mahal from the main door. The distinct contrast of light between the inside of the doorway and the outside, where the white Taj Mahal is situated, makes it possible to create a lovely frame in the photo. To do it, I measured the light outside and configured the camera to it, which caused the deep shadow of the doorway to emerge. Later on in the lab I further deepened the shadow.

Example 3 Framing

L ull d en Ventak Lluis Ribes i Portillo

"L'ull d'en Venkat", Lone Pine (2010)

Nature itself can also provide us with frames. The photo “L’ull d’en Venkat” (“The Eye of Venkat”) is an example of this. The moon is a beautiful satellite in the sky, but it’s lonely up there. It’s very distinct in this immense sky. Why not frame it? This rock in Lone Pine Park gave me this honor.

Example 4 Framing

Autoretrat Lluis Ribes i Portillo

"Autoretrat", Garraf (2008)

What’s more like a frame than a window frame? This is a self-portrait taken in one of the houses on the beach in Garraf.

Tutorial developed by Lluís Ribes i Portillo. This work is under license Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 3.0 Unported