A frame within a frame is a composition technique of photography. It is a technique in which the four-sided frame of the photograph surrounds another frame inside it.
So there is the ‘necessary frame’ plus the ‘extra frame’. It could be a real frame like a window frame or frame of a door or a frame made by hand.
Even a photograph of a picture frame can be considered a frame within a frame photo. The possibility of creating photos using this technique is boundless. You just have to be creative at every opportunity you get!
The Pros and Cons
It adds depth to the subject and highlights part of it more than other regions. So if you are taking a pleasant image but want viewers to focus on something more than the rest of the image, then you can use the frame within frame technique.
How you frame photos is a key aspect when it comes to good photography. Adding a frame to your photo brings a more interesting dynamic to the various shapes within a composition.
Once you bind elements that appear in your composition with a second frame, you influence how these elements relate to each other. What’s seemingly close to the camera and turns out to be the largest thing in your photo can be minimized significantly using this technique.
When you use this frame-within-frame method, it’s necessary to consider the relationship between your subject and the frame. How does using an extra frame affect your main subject?
Sometimes manipulating this relationship can change your point of view. Sometimes the frame itself takes all the limelight and distracts from the image.
Don’t force the use of leading lines if your composition is not benefitted. Be more optimistic towards adding depth rather than blurring the background because there are interesting elements that can enhance what your image has to offer.
Together with a frame within a frame technique, you can use any other technique possible as long as the mix goes well. Don’t force it because you want to create a masterpiece with various techniques.
When creating images using this sought after technique your main subject can be behind or in front of the frame you are using.
This is at times a matter of choice, sometimes not so ,if you have an idea that needs to be depicted in its rawest form.
Either way, you can still utilize the frames in interesting ways.
Most of the time it’s only more natural and generic to position a subject far behind inside the frame of a door or a window frame. Sometimes though a subject positioned in the foreground, close to the camera than the frame, can also work wonders.
At times this will depend on the size of the subject. Subjects that are larger than a frame have to be positioned in the background.
Just like you have to position subjects to create size illusions. If the subject dominates too much of the frame, then the effect of a frame within a frame is negligible and not so effective.
To frame your primary subject within a frame effectively, your extra frame does not need to be complete. Natural frames are generally incomplete.
Further beyond it are the lush blue sea and accompanying greenery which is the main subject of the image. But you’ll stop for a while and also admire the windows all the while imagining how fabulous the building might be. This type of photography makes you want to be at that place just at that moment.
And this is the mastery of photography. Using just an outline of a frame that is incomplete, you can astonishingly draw a viewer’s attention around and then into your subject. A broken frame can be utilized to take the viewer’s eye to other objects in the composition.
This might be how we all take photos when we sit on a flight for the first time. Surprisingly without being experts, without having almost any knowledge about photography except for filters and clicking a button, we were using a photography technique!
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the most common and in a way cliche, method, to add a frame within a frame is to use a picture frame to surround your subject just like brides do at weddings.
The four sides of the frame create a readily recognizable effect that can highlight the subject.
Another method is using hands to make a heart shape and frame their subjects. This is all about fun but is also a bit cliched.
The best way to learn to formulate the frame within a frame is to practice regularly. Like anything else the more you practice, the better you will become.