Instant Inspiration (29) – Frame your subject

St Lorenz church glowing in evening light in old town Nuremberg Germany
St. Lorenz | Nuremberg | 2019 | 1/ 60 sec – f/10 – ISO 800 – 16mm

“Instant Inspiration” is my series for you  if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently. Episode 29 is about a compositional element – using frames.

I am sure you have framed photographs in your house. We frame our photos as a way of displaying and drawing in the attention of the viewers, but there is another type of framing that can be just as effective doing exactly the same thing, only in our images themselves.

Nuremberg's historic old town behind the Pegnitz river
Down by the river | Nuremberg | 2019 | 2sec – f/18 – ISO 200 – 35mm

You can shoot through overhanging branches, through windows, arches or doorways. Use people to frame your main subject, shooting over their shoulders or in between their bodies. Almost everywhere you photograph there are possibilities to include some framing into your composition, like me using the old lantern and another historic building as a way to frame St. Lorenz, one of Nuremberg’s principal churches in the old town (I took this photo of the sand stone facade glowing in the evening sun yesterday evening). A frame doesn’t need to go completely around the edges of the photo, you can frame just as well on only one or two sides of your image.

Two prom girls posing in front of the Seattle skyline.
Black and White | Seattle | 2018 | 1/250 sec – f/4.5 – ISO 200 – 100 mm 

Clever framing leads the eye of your viewer to the main focal point of your photo. It provides layers and depth and can give the image context, for example about the surrounding architecture. Or, when including foliage, about the time of the year. The frame does not necessarily need to be in focus. A nicely blurred frame can also add mood and depth to your photographs.

Order Here | 2018 | 1/320 sec - f/6,3 - ISO 200
Order Here | 2018 | 1/320 sec – f/6,3 – ISO 200
Japanese Aesthetics
Japanese Aesthetics | Nuremberg | 2018
San Lorenzo | Genoa | 2017
Playing a guitar for himself
For himself | Porto Azurro | 2016

Clever framing can help to draw the attention of your viewer, because it lets his eyes rest on the photograph just that tad longer.

So next time your are out with your camera, actively work on framing the focal point of your image.

If you look for more “Instant Inspirations”, you will find them and all my Street Photography quick tips in my free Learning Center.

Wish you all a great Sunday!


Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (3) – Silhouettes

Instant Inspiration (11) – Change of Perspective

Street Photography Quick Tip 5 – Composition – the hidden subject

Instant Inspiration (22) – Variations on a Billboard

17 thoughts on “Instant Inspiration (29) – Frame your subject

Add yours

  1. I LOVE to find a unique way to frame a photo. Your collection of “framed” photos are wonderful Marcus! 🙂

  2. Agreed! Love the museum shot (Japanese Aesthetics) and the guitar player. I’ll be in Germany next month, looking for interesting ways to frame the architecture, and as you’ve shown, the possibilities are endless.

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