Pulling your viewer’s attention to your main subject.

Framing As A Compositional Tool

Using framing as a compositional tool when creating your images will help to draw the viewer’s eye to the main subject of your image.

Framing is just what it sounds like, creating an edge or frame around your main subject, like a picture frame. It not only guides the viewer where to look but it can also stop the viewer’s eye from leaving the scene you’ve created.

Elements To Create Frames

Many elements can be used to frame your subject when you are out photographing. You can use nature to create frames, walk around and look through trees and branches, pay attention to the light and shadows as they can be used as frames also. Using the entire landscape to frame your subject can work as well. You can use the mountains, hills, clouds and the horizon line as a potential frame for your subject.

Manmade Frames Are Fun To Find

Windows, doors, arches, and bridges are easy to use as frames. Wander around and keep an eye out for anything that can be used to frame your subject. Use the handle of your coffee mug. Be creative. Think about where you are and change your perspective to find a framing element that works. Go low or high in order to use what is around you as a frame. Move or zoom to get closer or further away from your subject depending on what you are shooting and using for a frame.

When creating images using framing make sure the main subject is in focus. The sharpest area of an image is where the viewer’s eye goes first. Use a higher aperture to blur out the frame or use your focus to create out of focus or blurred areas to use as a frame.

Making your subject lighter/brighter than your framing element also helps to guide your viewer directly to the main element of your image.

Once you’ve created your framed images be sure to remove any distracting objects or items that can take your viewer’s eyes out of the image. A tree branch through your subject to the edge of the frame will pull your viewer’s attention completely out of the shot. Simplify. The fewer elements you have in or around your subject the more your main subject will stand out.

Photo BootCamp Magazine

On the following pages, see what our BootCamp members have created with their images using framing!

And be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!

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Alternatively if you have a slower connection you can view this magazine Here on ISSUU.

Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine…

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  • Discover exciting new skills
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Inside BootCamp Magazine

Featured Artist

Let’s take a look at this month’s magazine. Here’s our featured artist of the month, Dave Koh, from Singapore.

For his featured image, he took a photo of this Dark Glassy Tiger butterfly that caught his sight along some flowering plants and he liked it as it forms a horizontal line with a round bokeh just above it and the flower in the foreground with no other distractions.

Comment: Romy Villanueva“Great image, Dave. I see both the flower and the butterfly framing each other. The butterfly appears ready to take off just waiting for you to finish your shot. Nice.”

Cover Image

This month’s featured magazine cover image is from Tessa Blewchamp from the United Kingdom. She was hoping to capture something other than framed landscape shots, but didn’t manage it in time – the recent lovely weather where she lives means she’s been out walking a lot lately! This is probably her best example of framing. It was taken at Tate Modern in London a couple of years ago.

Comment: Denis O’Byrne“Hi Tessa. God example of framing on show and B/W works well here. Well done.”

Active Members

Let’s have a look at these awesome images from our active members and be inspired with what they have created with framing.

Let’s start with Valerie Worthen from the USA. One night she saw this Eagle fly into the tree in her backyard and says while not quite as creative as Derryl and his photo, she had to try to get a shot. She must admit she has a better photo of him sitting on the tree branch but just liked his pose in this photo so decided to go ahead and post.

Comment: Sig Rannem“Valerie, fabulous job capturing this scene! We have an Osprey’s nest and resident family on an island where we have our cottage, but getting close enough to them to capture something like this would be a mere dream. Great framing, super sharp and amazing timing!”

Then we have Sig Rannem from Canada. He just returned home from the cottage where there is no Internet connection when he took this image and decided to post this as his first submission for the framing challenge. It shows his neighbor’s dock and boat just before sunrise.

Comment: Phyllis Kennedy“Love this picture! The frame and the fog make for a very dramatic photo. Great job, just shows us what we can do when we get away from our computers and the internet! Ha Ha”

Next we have Amber Pallas-Brunt from USA. She has been busy working on her images from Africa! 1 camp down 3 more to go! For this challenge she chose her Baboon in a Tree image. Amber loved the intensity in his eyes and how he is captured right between the branches of the tree.

Comment: Eugene Brannan“Great shot Amber! I was looking over mine and it’s amazing how many shots that we all got that were somewhat alike but each of us had a unique perspective on the shot! I like the black & white rendering, composition and framing. If only we could have gotten his attention and had him looking a bit more into the camera!”

Next we have Martin Gould from United Kingdom. He took a photo of this girl framed by the door in the gem of a village Pachewar, SSW of Jaipur, India. As for Martin’s advise, should you go, stay at the Pachewar Garth Fort, you will not be disappointed! This challenge made Martin realise how much he used framing in photography and has now compiled a large LR ‘Collection’. Martin walked past the girl at the gate, with her goat and smile and took this shot before she left for school along with him, who was invited into the English class. He has a monochrome conversion, but prefer the vibrant colours of Rajasthan.

Comment: Karen Padilla“India was full of scenes of daily life of the people. I believe we passed through Pachewar but did not stop. That is a beautiful photo of this young girl and her little goat framed in the doorway. Love it.

And last but not least is from Wayne Zussman from the USA. For this challenge he took this photo in San Miguel Mexico. Wayne spent considerable time waiting for the right moment to capture a passerby in the middle of the frame. He liked the door frame and how the building also act as a frames around her and the muted colors really help make her purple outfit standout.

Comment: Steve Darnell“Great image Wayne. Nice complementary colors and excellent framing. I believe I prefer the original crop, with the additional space on the left. This latest crop feels crowded to me.”

Aren’t these images full of creativity and uniqueness? Framing images is not that hard to do. You just have to go out there and look for the elements that you can use as frames. Don’t be afraid to try. You can also count on the community to help and guide you along the way. If you are not yet a member of this awesome family this is the best time to be one. You can check out the complete BootCamp Magazine and see for yourself!


  • Framing helps guide your viewer to your subject and main area of interest in your image and keeps them there.
  • Anything can be used as a frame, look around the area you are shooting and move around to see what there is that creates a frame.
  • Use focus and zoom to create blurred edges or backgrounds to help frame your subject.
  • Simplify. The few elements in and around your subject the more it will stand out.

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Do This Now

Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what you think. Brent

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