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Frame Your Photo

Jul 20, 2008
The use of a frame can turn an otherwise plain picture into a pleasing one. Usually a foreground element is used to create the frame. Examples are an overhanging tree branch, a window frame, a door, arches, a fence, rows of trees, etc.

A frame serves to isolate your main subject and create an interesting composition. Oftentimes, it's the feeling of depth you're after. You may choose to keep the detail of the frame (as in a wall, fence or branch), or let the frame go completely dark (as in a window frame).

Keep in mind objects in the foreground (and even in the middle or background) that could be used as a frame when composing a shot. Move around in your environment to find the best angle or viewpoint when framing a subject. You might need to kneel down, back up or zoom in to capture the best composition for your chosen frame and subject.

Framing can also be done after the fact by combining two or more pictures in an image editing software. Very dramatic effects can be accomplished this way and you are only limited by your imagination.

Be careful when adding a frame through digital editing though. While you can certainly combine features of different images together, be cautious about adding artificial frames on familiar scenes and landscapes.

As an extreme example, don't frame the Washington Monument with the Great Wall of China. Unless your goal is to create dissonance within your viewers' minds, a picture with an intense difference will only come across as strange.

So, before you take that shot next time, look around and see if there is an object that you can use as a natural frame. Take a picture without the frame, and another one with the frame, and compare. Betcha, you'll like the one with the frame better!
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