Everything You Need To Know To Frame Your Photographs

At first photos used to be drawn with the eyes, but then came the camera to immortalize the frames on paper (or in a digital file). The difference lies in that the vision has no limits (or is ignored) while the cameras themselves, and these limits, known as edges, will be the framework for all your photos.
The way in which you use such a limit to the time frame (compose) your photos can be that radically changes the feelings that your photos will convey, so that you know the secrets of the frame becomes almost an obligation.
In the article, I will tell you not only what it is the frame and the different types of these, but in addition you will learn in which situations it is advisable to use one or the other of a way of heightening the messages and feelings that these beetles. You can’t miss it!

What is the frame?

The frame in photography refers to the portion of the scene as a photographer, you were running for your photos. That is to say, the proportion of the scene you’re going to capture in a photograph. Imagine the frame like the scenario where you take your photos.

The frame is a key element of building the photographs as, the edges of the photo, which are almost always rectangular, exert a great influence on the contents of the same and in the messages and feelings that they convey.

The way you use the edges of the frame to distribute the elements (compose) and within this, give you strength, or not to your photos. Get the juice to the framing will depend on two things: first, your knowledge of composition and the second, the experience that you get shot.

Take your time when you frame

There are basically three ways to frame:

  • Plan ahead for the framing, for a time determined all the elements to include in your photo, adjust the camera parameters for the taking.
  • Compose the picture while encuadras, that is to say, you decide which elements to include or not in your photographs in the instant prior to pressing the shutter-release button.
  • Take the photo and then, re-fit it correctly in the computer.

To distinguish the different ways to make a frame does not mean belittling one method over the other. What is more likely is that, depending on each situation, using one or another method, according to the possibilities of the kind of photography you’re doing will allow you to.

Photography nature, for example, it is more important to achieving the picture was taken of this species of bird is rare, to worry about making the frame before the decision or re-frame this. In fact, in the wildlife photography of the great majority of the frames are made then into the computer.

Dynamics of the frame

When you step through a scene through the viewfinder, you’ll be able to notice as they begin to appear in the infinity of possible photographs, which will be more or less attractive depending on how the frames.

Depending on what elements you want to include in your photograph and as the relations with the edges of the frame, these will have a greater or lesser influence on the final image.

Pay attention to the following examples:

The mode in which they have been disposed of elements within the frame is not casual: the horizontal edges and the vertical lines have contributed strongly to the final design of the photographs, creating a greater impact on the viewers.

To do so, the photographers Mikel Ortega and A. González-Alba, have been used for both the side edges as the diagonal lines and the angles that they form among themselves, so as to generate tensions that are very attractive to the eyes of the observers.

Take a look at the following picture:

This framing does not generate as much stress as the previous

As you see it is the same situation as in the example of the fisherman’s red cap, but this time, the frame used has been different. In this case, the parallel lines of the floor and the rod with respect to the edge of the frame do not create as much stress attractive as in the example above. If you notice, not only change the way of taking advantage of the angles but also, the author, has invested in a format of framing different: the square.

Format of the frame

As you’ve already seen, the edges of the frame, and the proportion of these have a great influence, not only in the shape of the final photograph, but also in the feelings that it generates to the viewer.

The format of the frame meets the function of separating the image of everything that surrounds it, that is to say, the frame, so that you can control your composition. Depending on whether what you want to convey, it may be that a format frame will help you more to do than the other. But, What is the format of the frame?

The pictures, though that can be worked to acquire a sense of depth, you only have two dimensions: height and width. When we speak of proportion or format of the frame, exactly, we mean the relation (mathematics) that exists between the height and the width of the frame.

  • Standard format 3:2 (Width x Height): this format is the most used by the sensors of the cameras either 35mm or not (35 mm refers to the width of the sensor or film). This format is very popular because it represents very well the sense of horizontality of the vision of the human being.
  • Formats intermediate 4:3 : this type of formats have gained greater prominence in recent years with the growing popularity of digital cameras and to feel “more natural” that offer their images. Despite this, in composition with respect, not having a direction so dominant (it is less marked difference between the width and the height of the frame), are not as comfortable for the hour of the elements in the scene. Despite this, they are more flexible when it comes to shooting.
  • Square format: the relationship in this type of frame is 1:1, that is to say, that both the width and the height are equal. Very few cameras allow you to shoot natively in this format, but you can simulate it by cutting the photo in the computer, that is to say, re encuadrándola then. It is an unusual format due to that, there are a few scenes that lends itself to that format. How to make the juice? Taking advantage of the feeling of symmetry and perfect balance that convey, then break it up to the hour of the elements, or taking advantage of that balance and reinforce it.
  • Panoramic: this type of images, as you can imagine, are those in which the width of the frame is much greater than its height. This type of format allows you to create a horizontal framework, which corresponds with the line of the horizon, which is ideal for landscape photos. In most of these scenes, the length of the scene is the key, even more than the depth they can get to transmit.


Certainly, thanks to your photographic eye and your instinct for aesthetics, without you realizing, you may have noticed that, in certain situations is more aesthetically pleasing to take a photograph with a vertical orientation and in other situations, using a horizontal orientation.

The orientation of the frame is just that, the vertical or horizontal orientation that give the frame (camera and sensor) the moment you take your photos. Then we will stop to see each of them:

Frame horizontal: depending on how you intend to dispose the elements present in a given scene, a horizontal orientation may be more effective than a vertical one: if you want to convey a feeling of stability or, the elements to portray are arranged in a horizontal manner, it is ideal to use such guidance as it is very comfortable at the time of writing.

If you notice, monitors, televisions, and a multitude of visual media that surround you, have a horizontal orientation. This orientation is the most common, probably because the sensor of the camera is oriented the same way, so it’s the most natural position at the time of taking a photograph.

Frame horizontal

Frame vertical: this type of framing, unlike the previous one, which provides images that are more stable, provide more strength to those pictures whose elements also comply with such guidance, as for example, a portrait (the people are taller than wide).

If you pay attention, the vast majority of the magazines, advertisements and everything related to fashion, this type of orientation is the most widely used.

Vertical Orientation

The decision to adopt one or the other direction will depend on the message you want to convey with your photos. When to use one or the other will depend basically on your experience as a photographer, so the more pictures you take and the more time you spend analyzing the results, the better decisions you will take. As an exercise, I recommend that, in the same scene to practice the different orientations to see how it works one or the other to the eyes of the beholder.

Pay attention to the following picture: What feelings do you get?

Don’t you find something uncomfortable?

The key when selecting a frame is: balance. To achieve photographs balanced is what will motivate the choice of one or another frame, always, depending on the situation they try and photograph the items you want to use on your photos. Yes, always keep in mind that the balance depends on you: do You dare to break it?

Re frames

As its name suggests, re-framing is a “technique” which alludes to, once taken a picture, work at the computer or in the study to achieve the frame desired. That is to say, that first picture is taken and then looking for the best frame.

Although you can perform several frames in the same scene, the re-framing refers to re-frame once the photo has been taken. Below you will see how a single decision, made by the photographer July Codesal, you can then re fit it correctly to acquire more or less force depending on whether what you want to communicate:

Frame Photographs

The original photo of a little hut has been framed so that you can appreciate the color of the sky and the time that we used the small house and the ground, as an element of anchor that gives support and stability to the image. To do this, we used a relatively low skyline, so as to emphasise the colours of the sky. The scene gives a sense of solitude and peace very well transmitted in the same.

Re framing (1): if within the original frame re encuadras photography using a vertical orientation, the weight tone of the sky and clouds is even greater, so a good option would be keeping the sky as a key element, to keep the horizon lower even than in the original photo. The re-framing, tries to keep the essence of photography by valuing the more interesting elements of these and placing them again.

Re framing (2): if you want to give even greater emphasis to the sky, a re-framing of this type can work very well. The horizon is located even lower, so as to stabilize the image using the soil almost as a border of the image. This is known as “horizon” base. To counteract the weight of locating the cabin so low to the left, almost forced to use a large portion of sky to the right of this. Again we have tried to respect the key elements of the original scene.

Re framing (3): on this occasion, we have closed the frame, and yet maintaining a large extent, the original proportions. In this way, the floor and the cabin gain greater prominence in the scene. The horizon has been located as high as possible, within that scene allows, so as to ignore a large portion of the sky and to focus attention on the cabin.

Learn how to boost your frames

1-Fill the frame

Although not the notes, at the time of taking a photograph of a subject or object, you ask do I include a part of the environment or not? This question is fundamental because the choice you make will influence much on the end result. The more portion of the frame to take hold of your reason, a greater role you will have and you’ll be able to also capture it in all its glory (with great detail). Now, perhaps the environment makes the photography and the relationship of reason with this reinforce the message that this conveys, as it can be a photograph of a passer-by, and city background as a framework.

Depending on the feelings you want to achieve as to convey to the viewer, you will need to opt for one or the other option: if your environment is important, you must work you frame (using angles, lines, etc.) so as to enhance the message, or if you want the subject to dominate the entire scene come to him, but keep in mind that the way this will influence the frame you want to use. The choice is yours, I Dare to take it!

Frame Photographs
Fill the frame

2-Work the location of the elements:

The decision to locate your subject in one or another place within the frame is essential. Whether you fill the frame with this or not, the place you assign within the same should be pleasant for the viewer, that is to say that the position of this must be in harmony with the rest of the scene.

In photography, the elements present in a given scene within the frame is known as “comprised of photo”. The artistic compositions, whether in painting or photography, are based on mathematical rules, proportions, and methods that are “pleasing” to the eye. These rules will help guide the viewer’s eye to those points in the frame which, by instinct visual, are of greater interest and if you know how to exploit them, you will spend taking a mere photo to capture a great photo.

Frame Photographs
The smaller your subject, the more important it will be to your location

3-Divide the frame:

At the time of arranging the elements within the frame, you have a myriad of possibilities, as many as you can get to happen, although not all of them are so interesting and attractive to the eyes of the beholder.

The divisions more interesting within the frame are those that allow you to establish a well-defined relationship between them. These divisions of the frame refers to the proportion occupied by each element within the frame and to the way in which the same should be located to achieve the greatest visual impact but without breaking the harmony of the picture.

Don’t worry, you should not make a square and a compass to take your photos, you only need to train the eyes to familiarize yourself with the different ratios that you can use to do your photos. Some of the proportions are more well known are:

• Golden ratio: this ratio is a guide that will allow you to have the elements within the frame in a very harmonious and pleasing to the eye. This type of proportion, to be present permanently in nature, will allow you to obtain photographs very natural and generate “comfort” in your viewers. If you don’t know don’t worry, conscious or not of it, constantly compose your photos using these proportions as it is very intuitive and natural.

Golden ratio

Rule of thirds: this rule is one of the most basic rules at the time of arranging the elements inside of your frames. The same is to divide the frame into thirds and equal horizontally and vertically. In this way, in the intersections of the lines were formed 4 points imaginaries that are the strong points of interest within a photograph. As you can see, the center, despite being the obvious place in which one would lead to an element within the frame, is not one of the points of greatest interest to the view within the frame.

Rule of thirds

4 – Place the horizon in the frame:

The position of the horizon line within the frame is more important than you can imagine. According to height to obtain, a photograph can convey one or the other feeling, depending on the other elements present in the scene. A horizon line too high (lower portion of heaven) will give greater importance and weight to everything that is under it, and on the contrary, a line of the horizon is located at a lower position, give you greater sense of stability, working as a “base” and balancing the frame.

Anyway, the exact position of the horizon depends on many other factors as may be: to balance the picture according to the brightness and colors of the sky (see example of point re-frame), the attractiveness of the sky on the ground, the dynamics of the scene thanks to the clouds and their shapes, the contrast, the elements in the foreground, etc, All will depend on the circumstances of the photograph, the message you want to convey, and above all things, your personal taste.

Frame Photographs
The horizon high focuses attention on the rocks

5 – Frame within a frame:

There is a rule in photography is that almost assures success: “boxes within boxes”, that is to say, not only take advantage of the edges of the photograph, but which in its turn within, again framing another scene. To draw a new border around the main image, you will create an internal frame very attractive to the eye that gives the viewer the sense of organization, stability, order and control. This new limit prevents the image “arrive” to the edges of the outer limit of the (photo). This new framework will focus even more the gaze of the viewer on what is within him.

What are you waiting for go get the juice on your frames? If you liked the article, don’t hesitate to comment and share it! Thank you!

Frame Photographs