Street Photography – Using Framing To Isolate Your Subject

Framing is a strong compositional tool that is often overlooked.  It can be difficult recognizing natural frames (two trees, two buildings, etc.) when you’re walking around with your camera unless you’re expressly looking for them.  Framing gives our photography depth, isolates our subject from busy backgrounds, and draws viewers interest.  If you feel really adventurous you could pay a friend to run around in front of you with an empty picture frame and hold it in front of your subjects…

A difficult part of street photography is trying to isolate your subject from the hustle and bustle around them.  Framing makes it much easier to draw your viewer’s eye to your intended subject rather than loosing them in the mix.  Finding a frame in street photography takes practice, the best way I’ve found is to set out specifically looking to practice framing.  You can shoot between two people using their blurred (because of your wide aperture) bodies as a frame, between a bush (like in the image in this article), or the flabby arms of a couple of tourists…

JMB_4436Using the bushes as a frame isolates the man with a cigar…  it feels almost as if you’re a lion stalking prey.

Something to keep in mind is that the frame is not the focal point of the photograph and therefore should not dominate your photo.  Obnoxious colors or large unsightly objects don’t make the best frames, they end up demanding all of the attention while your subject is a distant afterthought.  Also, frames do not have to surround your subject…  It could be as simple as working your angle so that your subject looks to cradled in the branch of a tree rather than surrounded on all four sides.

Finally, framing isn’t exclusive to Street Photography, it’s used extensively in all types of photography.  I use framing in Landscape Photography to emphasize interesting formations or objects in the landscape regularly.  Whether you practice landscape photography, portraiture, or most any other type of photography you’ll find that framing enhances your images.

Have you successfully mastered framing?  Feel free to share some of your great photography with us and have a chance at having it featured right here on PhotolisticLife.  You can submit your images through our Facebook page by posting right to the page or here on the site by visiting Submit An Article.

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