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What Is Framing In Photography? How To Use Framing (With Examples)

I like using easy hacks to improve my photography and framing is one of them.

Framing is when you use composition to focus attention to your subject by forming a frame around part of your image. 

An example would be using a doorway with your subject standing within the frame of the doorway.

What Is Framing In A Photograph? 

As I said above, framing is basically using different things in your environment to create a frame around your subject.

By doing this it focuses attention to the main subject of your image. 

So if you are doing portrait photography then your subject would be a person.

To focus attention towards them you can try to find natural ‘frames’ in your environment. 

For example, some obvious examples could be placing your subject in a doorway, an archway or a tunnel.

These kinds of things might be more obvious frames, but you can also do it in less obvious ways.

For example you could use shadows or colours for framing too. 

Why Is Framing Good In Photography?

Framing can help your photography in various ways. 

It helps to draw focus to your subject so you can control the viewer’s attention.

You can also provide context and create a sense of depth to the picture so the viewer can imagine themselves in the scene. 

Focus Your Viewers Eye To The Subject

In most pictures you’re gonna have one main subject in the photo which is the focal point of the image. 

As the subject is the most important aspect of the image you would want to draw focus to it by guiding your viewers eyes. 

Framing helps you do this.

If your subject is a person walking down some stairs the stairway can act as a natural frame for the subject. 

In this case the staircase works to focus attention on the subject. 

Frames can be of any shape and they can take any form as long as they help to draw focus to the subject. 

Tell A Story And Provide Context

“A picture is worth a thousand words”- and it should be your goal to show that. 

Every good photo should have a story behind it and you can use framing to tell that story and provide context. 

For example, you can use foreground and background elements to show the viewer the setting and it gives them a sense of location.

By framing a picture using the windshield of a car you can separate the background and foreground and provide a sense of location. 

E.g. The subject is in a car, on a road, on a journey.

Ways To Use Framing In Photogrpahy


Colours can be a cool way of using framing in an image and it’s easiest to do if you have two contrasting colours in your image. 


Shapes are an easy one to use. 

Find natural shapes in the environment like arches, circles, squares etc. Any will do as long as they frame your subject.

Leading Lines

This can be similar to shapes but it’s probably worth its own point. 

The point is that you use parts of your image to lead the audience’s eye to the subject.


You can use things like trees, their branches, hedges or paths to find natural frames in your environment.

You can even use foliage to frame an image.

Lights and shadows

You can use harsh shadows to create a frame in your photo quite easily, and you can even manipulate it yourself by blocking light in certain places. 


Mirrors already come in specific shapes so they’re an easy way to create frames for a subject. 


You can use things like a table for the frame of a food flat lay image.

Architecture, Tunnels & Buildings

Architecture and manmade objects come in all different shapes and sizes. This makes it easy to find countless frames in our environment. 

It could be anything from a tunnel, the arch of a bridge, a road lined with skyscrapers or a covered walkway.

If you look around you’ll find plenty of examples. 

Doors And Windows

These are pretty self explanatory, but they work as easy frames for subjects. 

They also are really good in showing a sense of depth because there’s a clear difference in environment from one side of the door/ window to the other. 

How Can You Make Your Own Frames For Photography? 

Sometimes you might not find frames naturally occuring in a scene that you like. 

But, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own frames.

For example, if you want more of an outdoorsy vibe to the picture just pick up some leaves, branches or flowers and hold them in your picture how you want and take the shot. 

You can even use shadows to help frame subjects. 

Just hold whatever object you need to block out light on certain parts of your image to create a frame of any shape you want. 

The opportunities are endless, so go out there, get creative and experiment.

I found this video below to be very helpful when it comes to framing.