04. A Simple Guideline on How to Frame Your Shots

Framing is one of the very many terms you will hear when you decide to become a photographer. It is a photography composition technique where you draw attention to the subject of your image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene. Framing is an important skill to learn and master as a photographer because what is visible in the frame is always in direct coalition on how the photo will be interpreted or perceived in the viewers’ minds.  In this article, we will provide you with a simple guideline on how to frame your shots like a pro. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, these tips will help you elevate your photography skills and capture captivating images.

“Your subject or the story you are trying to tell should feel three-quarters of your Canvas or frame.” Oscar Ntege

Examples of Photography framing include

  1. Architectural features like hallways, windows, doors, and stairs. 
  2. Shapes 
  3. Nature
  4. Lights and shadows
  5. Frame within a frame.
  6. Suggestive lines
  7. Rule of thirds
  8. Golden Ratio
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Importance of proper framing

  1. Theme: 

The perfect frame will help you convey a message to your viewer thus giving it context. For example, if you use plants or leaves as your frame, your photo will be categorized under nature photography because the plants give it a nature theme.

  1. Focus: 

Framing is one of the ways you can draw your viewer’s attention to your subject. The frame will block out specific objects and making your SUBJECT the point of focus. 

  1. Depth:

Using elements like hallways will give your subject a sense of depth. This makes your shot aesthetically pleasing.

When framing your shot, put into consideration the size of your subject. You don’t want your photo to feel cramped. You should also consider the relationship between your frame and subject; what message do you want to convey? Lastly, make sure that it is balanced; otherwise, you won’t be able to drive your viewer’s attention to where you need it. 

1. Understand the Rule of Thirds

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The rule of thirds is a fundamental principle in photography composition. Imagine breaking your frame into a 3×3 grid, both horizontally and vertically. The main subject of your photo should ideally be placed along one of these gridlines or at their intersection points. This technique adds balance and visual interest to your images, making them more engaging to the viewer.

2. Utilize Leading Lines

Leading lines are natural or man-made lines within a scene that lead the viewer’s eye toward the main subject. Roads, pathways, rivers, or even architectural lines can be used as leading lines to create depth and guide the viewer’s gaze through the photograph. Incorporating leading lines adds a sense of direction and movement to your images, making them visually dynamic.

3. Pay Attention to Symmetry and Patterns

Symmetry and patterns can be incredibly captivating in photography. Look for scenes or objects with symmetrical elements or repetitive patterns and use them as your main focus. Placing the subject in the center of the frame can often work well when aiming for a symmetrical composition, drawing attention to the balanced nature of the image.

4. Frame with Natural Elements

Use elements from the surrounding environment to frame your subject. This could be anything from branches and foliage to windows and doorways. Framing your subject with natural elements adds depth and context to your photo, creating a more immersive experience for the viewer.

5. Experiment with Different Angles

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different angles while framing your shots. Try shooting from a low angle or a high vantage point to add a unique perspective to your images. Changing the angle can completely alter the way your subject is perceived and the overall composition of the photo.

6. Mind the Background

A cluttered or distracting background can take the focus away from your main subject. Pay attention to the background and ensure it complements the subject rather than detracting from it. Using a wide aperture (low f-stop number) can help blur the background and create a beautiful bokeh effect, keeping the viewer’s attention on the subject.

7. Capture Candid Moments

Candid shots can be incredibly powerful and emotive. Instead of always asking your subjects to pose, try capturing them in natural, unguarded moments. Candid shots often tell a more authentic story and evoke genuine emotions, making your photos more compelling.

8. Use Framing to Tell a Story

Framing is not only about aesthetics but also about storytelling. Use framing techniques to convey a narrative or evoke a specific mood in your photographs. The way you frame your shots can enhance the story you want to tell and make your images more meaningful to the viewers.

9. Don’t Forget About Scale

Including elements of known size in your photographs can give the viewer a sense of scale and context. It helps to understand the actual size of the subject and appreciate its significance in the overall composition.

10. Experiment with Post-Processing

Post-processing can be a valuable tool in enhancing your framed shots further. Play with contrast, saturation, and color balance to bring out the best in your images. However, remember to use post-processing subtly and avoid over-editing, as it may lead to unnatural-looking photos.


Framing is an essential aspect of photography that can transform ordinary shots into extraordinary works of art. By following these simple guidelines and incorporating various framing techniques, you can take your photography skills to the next level and create stunning visuals that leave a lasting impression on your audience.

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1. What camera is best for framing shots effectively?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on your photography preferences and budget. However, many DSLR and mirrorless cameras offer advanced features and manual controls that allow you to frame your shots creatively.

2. Can I use framing techniques in smartphone photography?

Absolutely! Modern smartphones come equipped with impressive camera capabilities. You can apply framing principles in smartphone photography to capture stunning images.

3. Are there any photography courses that focus on framing techniques?

Yes, many photography courses and workshops include composition and framing as essential topics. Look for courses from reputable instructors to improve your framing skills.

4. Should I always follow the rule of thirds?

While the rule of thirds is a helpful guideline, photography is also about creativity and breaking the rules. Feel free to experiment with other framing techniques to add diversity to your portfolio.

5. Can I use framing in landscape photography as well?

Definitely! Framing is not limited to any specific genre of photography. It can be applied effectively in landscape photography to add depth and lead the viewer’s eye through the scenic beauty.

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