Very likely, you have already read some excellent articles at Photography Life about framing your subjects and all the guidelines that should be followed when doing so (if you have not, check out the section on composition in the photography tips for beginners page). This time, I want to emphasize the importance of using natural features to frame things in order to produce striking photos. As taking pictures for me is like telling a tale, I frequently think it’s necessary to include the scene’s other features as well as my subjects. Although you may capture amazing pictures by isolating your subjects with creamy bokeh, I think that adding some creative framing to your pictures will help you give some depth and a pleasing visual appeal to enhance the image.
Do Location and Type of Photography Matter When Looking for Natural Frames?
All but a few of the pictures in this post were taken when I was out shooting weddings and portraits for my clients. Due to time and other restrictions, we might not always be able to let our imaginations run wild, but being able to “see” what is around us and be able to incorporate external influences into our work can be potentially fruitful. The good news is that you don’t need to be in a beautiful setting to be able to do this; occasionally, a tree branch or a small patch of a bush will do. If you’re unsure of what to include in your photographs, you can always remove the background by using a natural frame that just barely touches the edges of the image. This alone can add mystery to your plot and make it easier for the audience to understand or follow.
Vignetting with Natural Elements
Vignetting is a technique that is frequently employed to assist focus the viewer’s attention on the topic by lessening the impact of the background features (not to be confused with optical vignetting). That can be a fantastic method to use if applied correctly and very discreetly (even during post-processing). Vignetting is typically pictured as a darker (or lighter) halo at the frame’s edges that progressively disappears and softens as it approaches the image’s center. Here, the goal is to use the scene’s surroundings to try and conjure a natural vignette. I show how to employ tree branches, leaves, and other items to wrap around my subjects in the sample photographs used in this article to create the vignetting effect. When doing this, you want to make sure that your subject is placed in the open part of the naturally existing frame and that no giant branches or other distracting objects are cutting into the middle of the frame.
Creating Gradients With Natural Elements
You may have already gotten some practice using Photoshop and Lightroom to create fake gradients to improve the appearance of your photographs. Just framing one of the frame’s edges with a natural element will enable you to do this trick successfully in the field. It may be a tree limb or even a bare wall! This composition uses negative space to frame your subject(s), which is a very effective method to frame your photographs. You can even successfully embellish the negative space with straightforward surrounding components that can be found naturally, as opposed to leaving it blank. You can successfully employ a foreground element to add some pop of color or a little drama to your photo; the gradient element of the picture does not always have to come from a far element.
Photographing Through Elements to Create a Frame
Many photographers use this technique. Photographing through the surrounding natural elements, in my opinion, gives pictures a bit more surrealistic quality. It frequently makes me think of the Little Red Riding Hood story. I used to picture leaves brushing against my face as I tried to see her through a frame of lush foliage as I followed a narrative of her in the woods picking berries and flowers. I would experience being there with her through a small window of visual framing if I did this.
It’s simple to decorate images with frames like this. Give it a try if you come across any tree branches that are wide enough for your lens to fit through. To learn how this technique affects your photographs, experiment with it a little. You may want to experiment with framing images like this because you will get varied looks with different focal lengths, apertures, camera to subject distances, and framing.
Creating a Frame Within a Frame
Great results can also be obtained by setting up your photo so that you have a frame inside of a frame. You can make frames out of doors, windows, arches, mirrors, and a variety of other things depending on what your subject requires (s). Because it guides the eye in that direction, such a composition provides a great opportunity to bring viewers’ attention to your subject(s). By using these framing components, photos gain a sense of intrigue and become considerably more interesting and engaging.