Composition: Although a foreground border often spotlights your center of interest, an extra-special frame sometimes serves as the primary subject itself. Also, a frame can show a subject in relation to its surroundings and can even produce a three-dimensional effect, in which the scene sweeps away from front to back.
Wide Look: An exclusive "storytelling" perspective - the ability to combine intimate details with distant views in the same picture - makes the wide-angle a valuable tool for creating frame shots. The wide-angle also helps strengthen the sense of depth, since a close-at-hand foreground appears larger in relation to the background.
Tele Views: A telephoto or tele-zoom offers its own unique look for framing. Use it to compress space - in other words, to make the frame and backdrop appear closer together than they really are.
Fill-in flash, however, could lighten up a shadowed foreground. But if that dark object is sharply outlined, easily identifiable, and set against a bright background, consider going for a striking silhouette to spotlight your distant subject. To achieve a silhouette, make sure your meter registers the sunlit areas of the scene and not the shaded frame.
Depth of Field: Most foreground frames look best if they are in sharp focus; others work more effectively when they are in soft focus (say, to emphasize a crisp-and-clear background subject).
Not sure? Then shoot the scene both ways: with a small aperture (high f/stop number) for maximum near-to-far sharpness and a large aperture (low f/stop number) for a "selective focus" effect. Such experimenting is crucial to success when framing frames!
More photo examples: Check out BetterPhoto's "Framing the Subject" gallery.
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Be sure to check out Kerry's Pro BetterPholio website - www.kerrydrager.com.
Also, he is the author of Scenic Photography 101, the photographer of the photo-essay books The Golden Dream: California from Gold Rush to Statehood and California Desert , a contributor to the books BetterPhoto Basics and Daybreak 2000, and a co-photographer of Portrait of California. In addition, Kerry was profiled in the April 1994 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine and in Vik Orenstein's 2010 book The Photographer's Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business, and his website was showcased in the January 2003 issue of Shutterbug magazine. Plus, his work has appeared in magazines, Hallmark cards and Sierra Club calendars, and in advertising campaigns for American Express and Sinar Bron Imaging.
Kerry lives with his wife, Mary, on California's Central Coast, with their three Newfoundland dogs, four cats, and a mixed terrier.