focal length: 70 mm
shutter speed: 1/200
aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 200
flash: none

I haven’t written an article about composition in a while, so here is one about using environmental elements as a way to frame your subject. Using a branch, a doorway or any other physical structure in the foreground can help bring the viewer’s attention to the subject or lend a greater feeling of depth in the scene.

In the image above, I used a medium telephoto focal length to get just a bit of the fence, which acted as my frame. If I had used a wide angle, I would have lost the effect I wanted as too much of the fence would be in clear sight. I also used a wide aperture to create a feeling of depth by having only a shallow depth of field, while the foreground and background stayed out of focus.

Using frames which are darker than your subject work best as our eyes tend to focus on brighter elements in a scene. So, expose for your subject and allow your frame to be underexposed.

With any situation, you just have to adjust your position or change your focal length to get the composition you desire and set your aperture to control how much depth you want in the image.

Here are a couple more examples of frames within the frame:

I’ll admit I don’t use this compositional technique often but when used well, one can end up with a more effective image.

Please do share your own photos where you liked the effect an elemental frame played on your scene.

Laura is a Vancouver wedding and portrait photographer. Visit laurahana.com.