Top 6 Ways to Creatively Frame Your Photography Subject

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Framing isn't just for finished art work - it is also a clever way to compose your image before you take it. Whether are you are photographing people, places or objects, there are many creative techniques you can to draw your viewers eye right to your subject.

Creative framing can help add drama and impact, set the scene and balance the hierarchy and aesthetics of your image. A frame doesn't have to be a traditional box or hard edge, you can frame your image with organic shapes or any type of line that helps visually direct your composition.

Here are our top creative ways you can frame your photography subject for more impact:

Using kitchen items such as trays, plates and boards

This is one of the easiest and most effective framing techniques you can use in your images. Plates, trays and other types of serving ware make excellent frames for photographing table top or flatlay scenes. Simply by placing the items you wish to photograph inside a larger item and shooting from above you can create an instant framing effect for your image.

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It doesn't have to be just for food or kitchen related photography, other household items like clipboards, books and linens can be used to achieve the same effect. Think about how you can contrast the size, colour and shape of your subject with the background prop you are using to frame it.

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Creating a frame with flowers, food or other objects

Arranging a collection of complementary items to form an edge or arc around your subject is an eye catching way to showcase the hero of your image. This technique is very popular in product styling because it allows you to add context to the item you are styling while adding visually pleasing elements to your image.

 Image from creative campaign for Global Nature Australia, styled and photographed by Shelley J

Image from creative campaign for Global Nature Australia, styled and photographed by Shelley J

Your frame doesn't have to be a square or rectangular shape it can be any arrangement of objects or decorative elements that help showcase the hero of your image.

 Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y 

Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y 

 Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y

Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y


Using Negative Space

Leaving large areas of your image intentionally blank is a great way to draw your viewers attention right to the focal point of your shot. By adjusting the hierarchy of the elements within your photo you can make even the smallest object stand out. 

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The 'hero' of your shot doesn't have to be the largest element of your image. With clever framing you can create an elegant composition where your subject can still shine without dominating your photo. 

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Working with shapes found at home or in architecture

In your own home windows, doorways, shelving or even baths can make great frames for composing your image. Taking advantage of existing shapes in your house and neighbourhood is a simple and effective way to frame your shot. Look around and see what shapes you can find in the structure of your home and also in your furniture.

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Using buildings and their framework is also a very impactful way to photograph people and places. There are so many amazing architectural shapes out there in the world, look for shapes, contrasting colours and interesting elements of the places you go that you can use to create more drama and highlight the focal point of your photo.

 Creatively Squared founders Ruth and Scott on holiday in Hoi An, Vietnam

Creatively Squared founders Ruth and Scott on holiday in Hoi An, Vietnam


Reflecting your subject using glass or mirrors

You can neatly frame your photography subject within a mirror or reflection. This technique allows you to compactly display a portion or your shot within the existing frame of your reflective object. 

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On a larger scale you could even use the other half of the reflection to complete the frame and completely surround your subject matter. Think about what half a frame might look like and how to continue the effect on a reflective surface.

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Looking through a phone or glass

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Framing your photograph through a looking glass, your phone or viewfinder can put an interesting twist on your image. Some glass items even reflect your image upside-down which can add a surprising and whimsical element to your photo. At home you could experiment with photographing through a fishbowl, vase or wine glass - even your reading glasses could make an intriguing frame for your shot.

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Using an actual frame

Traditional rectangular shapes or picture frames themselves can be used in creative ways to compose a visually interesting images.

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Use an old photo frame or create frame shapes out of tape or other household items. This is a really cheap and effective way to frame your shot and can be used on horizontal and vertical surfaces.

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Alternatively you could arrange boxes or trays to get the same effect as a photo frame, this will create more depth to your image and allow you to consider more angles and orientations for your photo.

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Are you up to the challenge of creatively framing your next image? Join our 'In the Frame' Instagram photo challenge and you could win some great prizes! 

For more creatively framed photo inspiration check out our Pinterest board