Sunday, February 22, 2009

Photography 101 - Lesson 5

Lesson 5: Framing

Framing is the placing of other objects in your picture around the subject in such a way that it creates a "frame." This lighthouse in Oregon is framed by trees:

Why would you use framing? For starters, when the sky is bland and makes you wish there were something extra to make your picture better.

This shot of the Arch in St. Louis would look a lot better if there were some leaves hanging across the top and a little way down the sides. To get them, you'd look around you for a tree you can stand under or near so you can get the leaves in your picture where you want them. Unfortunately, there were no trees growing on the riverboat I was on when I took this picture.

So I looked around for something on the boat that I could use to frame the Arch. I found this cut-out in the railing and tried it, but the nautical rigging and the out-of-focus frame hurt the shot. Still, I offer it as an idea of what you can use for framing your pictures.

Framing can also be used to make a boring picture interesting. Still in St. Louis, here's a hum-drum picture of the city from the top of the Arch:

And here's the same view framed by one of the angled windows:

Much better.

Windows can be great frames. They have a shape of their own, often with panes, and sometimes they catch reflections that add to the interest of the shot. This picture was taken at the Cabrillo Lighthouse in San Diego.

It's not a great picture, but it gives you an idea about using windows as frames. Old windows can be especially wonderful, because the flaws in the glass distort the scene beyond them.

And sometimes the frame itself can be the picture. This one, from San Antonio, is a frame within a frame.

Now it's your turn.


Take pictures that use three different types of frames (not in the same picture). If you want to share any, post them on your blog and leave a comment here with the link.

Previous Lessons:

Photography 101 - Lesson 1 and Homework

Digital Photography 101 - Quickie Version

Digital Photography 101 - Update

Photography 101 - Lesson 2

Photography 101 - Lesson 3

Photography 101 - Lesson 4


Bekah said...

I love learning from you...we'll see after my vacation later this year how good of a student I've become!

LOVED the little window in the arch. That brought back some memories!!!! Maybe someday when I'm brave I'll post the picture of me in the elevator in the arch. It is an invitation for What Not to Wear to visit me!!!!

SkyePuppy said...


Your attire has improved since your visit to the Arch. What Not to Wear wouldn't have you now, but I'd love to see the picture anyway.