Mastering the Art of Frame within a Frame Photography

Frame Within a Frame Photography

In photography, interesting compositions can be achieved by including visual elements that form a ‘frame within a frame’. This technique adds depth and perspective to an image, guiding the viewer’s eyes towards the main subject while adding context and detail to the overall composition. This composition rule, known as “frame within a frame” can completely change the visual narrative of your photo, adding meaning and intrigue. It’s not a new concept, but when used creatively, it can bring about stunning results.

The beauty of this technique lies in its simplicity and flexibility. You can use almost anything to create your frame – windows, doors, trees, mirrors, and even other people. This method is quite versatile, allowing you to experiment with both natural and man-made frames, and it’s applicable to various photography genres, including landscape, street, and portrait photography.

Another interesting aspect of using “frame within a frame” technique in photography is its potential to add multiple layers to a photo, both in terms of composition and emotion. A photo with multiple layers can tell a more complex, multi-faceted story. It can depict change, contrast and juxtaposition by showing different elements in the frame. The inner frame focuses on the main subject, while the outer frame can present additional information or context.

Implementing this technique, however, is not just about finding objects to frame your subject. It’s about understanding the light, color and texture present in your scene and using that to your advantage. Placing your subject within a frame can often involve positioning yourself at a unique, sometimes challenging, perspective to capture the shot.

Techniques In Frame Within a Frame Photography

  • Finding natural frames: Look for natural elements like arches formed by trees, crevices in rocks, or tunnels that can act as a frame around your primary subject.
  • Using architectural frames: Buildings and structures often provide a variety of framing opportunities, e.g., the space created by two buildings, windows, doorways, etc.
  • Looking for ‘lines’: Lines, either natural or man-made, can act as frames. It helps the viewers’ eyes move from the frame towards your main subject.

Consider the Environment

The environment you’re in can often determine how effectively you can use this technique. You should always consider your surroundings and adapt your approach based on what is available. In urban settings, you can use elements like gates, archways, and bridges as possible frames. In a natural setting, you may have to rely on things like foliage, caves or even the shape created by a mountain range.

Frame Within a Frame Photography and Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in photography, and the frame within a frame technique is no exception. An important aspect to consider here is the contrast between the inner and outer frame. Ideally, you want your main subject to be well-lit, with the frame itself in slightly darker tones. This contrast accentuates the depth of the photo and further highlights the subjects.


While “frame within a frame” photography might seem a bit challenging at first, with practice and a keen eye, anyone can master it. It’s an excellent way to add depth and intrigue to your photos, provide context, and help your main subject stand out. By incorporating the methods discussed above, you can start creating more engaging and memorable images.