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3 Tips for Dynamic Framing in Photography

3 Tips for Dynamic Framing in Photography

While it has been said countless times that photography is all about the light, many have often overlooked the weight of what framing and visual design contribute to the beauty of our photographs. While the technicalities of photography often dwell on exposure and the settings we use to achieve them, it is undoubtable that masterful framing and composition are what makes an image artistic and worthy of making visual impact. 

Framing in Photography is similarly important as exposure and the two concepts intersect in many ways. Exposure governs the amount of detail as well as the visual balance of the entire frame while framing creates the visual experience for anyone who looks at a photograph. By being able to achieve good exposures with visually impactful framing, any photographer would be able to create remarkable and eye-catching photographs no matter what the subjects are. To help you achieve better visual impact, here are some framing photography examples that you can try. 

Framing in Photography

Frame Within a Frame 

One of the most popular and most effective framing photography ideas is the use of an actual and physical frame within the frame of a photo. By doing this, the photographer easily adds depth into the image by using multiple layers in the photo giving the perception that the flow of the image moves forward and into the frame. This technique is commonly done when taking portraits of people indoors because it allows the photographer to isolate the subject and even conceal parts of the environment that do not contribute to the aesthetic of the image, and at the same time it illustrates the location giving viewer the impression that the space expands further than what they can actually see in the image. 

Doing this outdoors can be a bit more tricky especially during the day. Whether your frame opens up to show a person, an object, or another aspect of the place, there will be quite a few challenges when it comes to the luminosity. Typically, the frame within the frame will be less bright than the outside environment and this is a challenge that has to be solved to achieve better balance in the image. A quick solution is to shoot in HDR. By simply taking multiple exposures with the same framing and angle but varied levels of brightness, you can combine the image to bring out the best detail and luminosity for various parts of the photo. While you can do this manually, this multi-step process can be made much simpler by a capable camera trigger. 

Frame Within a Frame

The MIOPS Smart+ is a mobile app controlled camera remote trigger that is equipped with a range of functions that help photographers simplify their workflow. By simply setting your base exposure, brightness intervals, and the number of frames you want to take, the Smart+ can take care of changing the settings and trigger the exposures thereby making the process as simple as possible. To take it a step further, the MIOPS Flex is capable of storing those photos onto its built-in memory and create previews of what the HDR process will yield. This way, you are assured of the result without having wait much longer. 

Precise Framing for Moving Subjects 

Sometimes the game of framing goes beyond simply point and shooting. This is especially true in shooting scenarios wherein we don’t have full control of all the factors in the photograph and and we have to avoid having our presence affect the behavior of the scene. This is especially true for street photography, and in some instances, photographing action and sports. 

Precise Framing for Moving Subjects

To achieve this, the only option is what is called “working the scene” where the photographer would watch and wait for the motion and the scene to unfold hoping that the subject of interest would take a particular spot in the frame that would give the resulting photograph the balance and visual flow that the photographer intends. This can be as simple as waiting for someone to walk on a particular point of the frame following composition principles such as rule of thirds, the golden ratio, symmetry, etc. This often entails minutes or even hours of waiting while the rest of the scene is set and the only factor missing is the moving subject. 

For sports and action photographers, these framing photography ideas can also be significantly helpful particularly in races. In the same way, movement of athletes and competitors can not be influenced by the photographer just to perfect their framing. However because they all follow a particular course, it is possible to predict and anticipate where they will be and create a masterful framing around that point. 

Another unpredictable and even harder to control subject is wildlife. Animals in the wild are often elusive and actively avoid any contact with humans and that makes the endeavor already challenging. The difference is that their movement can be impossible to predict but there are various ways of attracting them towards the camera. 

One advantage of smart accessories for executing these framing photography ideas is being able to automate and make the process more assured of better results. The MIOPS Smart+ and MIOPS Flex smart camera triggers both feature various sensors that help the photographer work the scene. In particular, both camera remote triggers are equipped with laser sensors that detect when potential subjects cross the path of the camera. Obviously, this has a lot of implications in being able to catch the perfect moment where your subject fits your intended framing. For photographing action, sports photographers can leave multiple cameras on selected parts of the course to be able to capture more action without having to chase after the competitors. Once these cameras are equipped with camera remote triggers such as the Smart+ or the MIOPS Flex, any competitor crossing the path will trigger an exposure that will capture the split-second action that the photographer aims to catch. 

For wildlife photographers, camera traps can be safely set up using baits that would interest the animals and safely positioning the camera from a certain distance and with a clear line of sight. Once the animals cross the path of the sensor on the camera trigger, the photo can be taken possibly with the animal not even noticing the camera making sure that the photographer gets the shot without making the animals feel threatened in their habitat. 

Forced Perspectives 

Another great framing technique is the use of forced perspectives. This method relies on the juxtaposition of two or more subjects in two or more separate layers. By achieving a specific alignment of the subjects or the background, one can create a unique relationship between the visual elements in the photograph that will definitely make the photo impactful and even create a surreal scene. This is often done by playing around with perspectives and scale wherein an object in the foreground closer to the camera will appear much larger than another, more distant object in frame. By doing this, creative photographers are able to create images with giant versions of everyday objects that are usually juxtaposed to people, other large objects, or buildings to manipulate scale. 

Forced Photography

Some popular examples of this approach are photos wherein giant objects seem to be falling onto people. Objects such as shoes, toys, or any other everyday object look much larger when put in the foreground against a person in the back. For people who travel, forced perspectives are popular in taking photos at particularly tall landmarks such as the Eiffel tower, the leaning tower of Pisa, Big Ben, and other large structures. By placing your human subject closer to the camera, it creates a perspective that enlarges the person allowing them to reach for the top of the structure. This is also commonly done to create photos as if people are reaching for objects in the sky such as clouds or the moon. While these ideas create fun surreal images, they can often be harder to execute than they seem. Perfect placement and alignment has to be achieved otherwise the juxtaposition will not work. An irreplaceable value that smart camera triggers have in such tasks is allowing you to control your camera and monitor your framing from a distance. This is even more valuable in instances where you are taking photos with yourself in frame. The MIOPS Flex offers a unique feature that will help you make precise composition and framing from wherever you stand. This bluetooth and wifi connected camera trigger is able to send a live video feed to your smartphone with the MIOPS mobile app so that you can monitor and adjust your composition without having to walk back and forth to the camera. In addition, if it is necessary to do bracketed exposures and create HDR images, the same process can be done. This intelligent camera remote not only helps you achieve the perfect framing but also allows you to control your camera and monitor the frame which is especially important in instances where the camera angle is too high or too low. 

 Precise Framing for Moving Subjects

There infinite ways to create artistic and impactful framed images to boost the viewer experience in your photography. No matter what genre of photography you are into, composition and framing will always be the key ingredient to making your photos stand out. Meticulous and creative framing contributes a lot to the visual design of an image and with the right idea, the technical skills to execute the shot, and the right tools that make shooting easier and more efficient, your photos are sure to connect with your audience in a way that wont be easy to forget. 


Blog Credit: Nicco Valenzuela

Nicco started his photographic journey in 2007 practicing the craft as a hobby. Currently, he shoots for various local and international architectural firms and construction companies. Out of his love for sharing his knowledge, Nicco began writing about photography and various pieces of gear.

Effective Composition and Framing Tips for Landscape and Cityscape Photography

Effective Composition and Framing Tips for Landscape and Cityscape Photography

Composition is probably the most overlooked aspect of photography. Composition and visual design are deeply embedded into how we see and appreciate photographs but are perhaps under appreciated because of how viewers look at the entirety of the image altogether. However, composition plays a much bigger and more encompassing role in what we appreciate in photographs. The simplest and most common understanding of composition is how we place a subject within a frame.


However, it is evident that in landscape and cityscape photography, we are not limited to just a singular subject. Some would say that the subject in landscape photography is the location, some would say that it is the light and environmental condition, however it is safe to say that landscape photography deals with all of those factors which is why a deeper and more analytical way of understanding composition and visual design is the key for better photographs. 

To execute better composition and visual design in landscape photography, the most important aspect is strict attention to even the smallest details. Composition in this sense concerns every single visible element in the entire photograph and being able to identify how a single visual element interacts with other parts of the photograph will be a great step towards masterful artistic intent. The way we use empty spaces, rough and smooth textures, shadows and light, all make up the general visual design and play a huge role in how viewers perceive our images.

symmetry and geometry at landscape photographySymmetry and Geometry

One way to achieve striking visual design in your landscape photographs is to create a satisfying visual experience. It is said that the human eyes perceive random patterns and try to make sense and order out of it. By achieving near-perfect patterns in your images, you give your viewers a satisfying experience when looking at your photos and this is done through various ways. 

Symmetry is one of the most commonly used compositional techniques that give a satisfying viewing experience. The meticulous execution of framing that achieves proper balance of visual weight on two halves of the frame provides resolution to the visual experience. Doing this requires a lot of attention to detail. However, the presence of symmetry in landscape photography is almost impossible to perfect especially in natural locations.

The easiest way to achieve symmetry in landscape photography is to make use of reflective surfaces in the foreground. The most common of which would be a still body of water. By using low camera angle to emphasize the foreground, you can achieve a satisfyingly symmetrical composition given the right lighting conditions. This is commonly easy in well-lit environments.

However, sometimes the conditions have to be managed with exposure techniques to fine-tune the surface and give more emphasis to the reflection. This can be done by using a circular polarizing filter. A CPL filter (when not pointed towards the sun) can help enhance contrast in the sky by intensifying the blue hue.

At the same time, this contrast also enhances the intensity of the reflection of the surface of water. When shooting bodies of water with significant current, it is best to make use of a heavy ND filter and shoot longer durations of exposure to achieve a smooth surface where the reflection is pronounced. Using a camera remote trigger such as the versatile MIOPS Smart trigger allows you to set and control the exposure length to execute such a specialized process. The mobile app that connects your camera to your phone also aids you in estimating the right exposure given the current lighting condition and your ND filter of choice through the ND filter exposure calculator. 

symmetry and geometry at cityscape photography

Another possible option for achieving satisfying compositions is emphasizing patterns in the landscape that may or may not be readily visible. These patterns can be obvious solid structures that create lines or shapes to fill the frame, or alternatively they can be patterns created by repetition of many small visual elements such as rocks, trees, street lamps, traffic lights, or other foreground elements that come in multiple numbers naturally in an outdoor setting.

By emphasizing and showing these patterns from a particularly unique point of view, the image can be impactful because it shows the viewers something that they may not have realized to be there and at the same time allows their subconscious to find resolution in making sense of a seemingly random scene. 

Negative Space and Direction 

Every genre of photography deals with isolating a certain fraction of a perspective of the world and finding the best angle to capture it in. This means that the game of composition relies so much on eliminating other details as well as empty spaces. Framing is defined by this aspect of photography. By selecting that perspective out of all possible angles, one is able to find the one that translates into an effective visual design. 

Proper use of space is crucial to any kind of photography and this is even more emphasized in photographing landscapes and cityscapes. Empty spaces can be used both to emphasize subjects as well as to direct the flow of the visual experience towards a certain direction. By being able to use space with artistic intent, your landscape and cityscape images can successfully tell stories and convey emotions. The direction, progression, and resolution of visual patterns, much like in a story or a song, gives the viewer something to experience and interpret into their own version of a story. 

negative space and direction at landscape photography

Negative space can either be readily present in a certain scene or it can be created using exposure techniques. Landscape photography deals with the most unpredictability in terms of location, weather, and other environmental factors. Because of that, it is also difficult to manipulate. Commonly, negative space is found in the sky and on bodies of water in the foreground. However, slightly rough textures found in small patches of clouds and in the surface of the water can have such a big effect on cancelling out negative space.

To refine this and achieve a more perfect composition, long exposure effects can be used. If dealing with very minimal water current or small chunks of clouds, exposures of around 10 seconds can be enough to smoothen them out. However, when dealing with strong waves or significantly cloudy skies, heavier ND filters will have to be used to execute longer exposures. With the use of a 10 or 15-stop ND filter, one can do exposures of around 2 to 5 minutes to achieve perfectly smooth surfaces. This can be made more precise by using a smart remote trigger that will help you determine the necessary exposure settings to achieve the effect. 

Negative space can also dictate movements within a frame. This is best done with singular  foreground elements against a much larger surface. By placing the foreground element on one side, especially if the structure points toward a certain direction, the presence of negative space implies that the flow of the image goes from the foreground towards the larger empty space. This use of scale also gives an impression that the location is much bigger because of the wide space in frame. 

visual paths at landscape photography

Visual Paths

As with any kind of photography, substantial visual designs give satisfying viewer experience when the viewer is lead to different parts of the image without confusion and distraction.

Since landscape photography often deals with complex environments with a lot of detailed layers, a piece is satisfying to look at when viewers are guided on how the artist wants them to experience the image and when the image requires no need for instructions or explanation. With the unpredictability of visual elements both in nature and in an urban scenario, the use of both motion and still visual elements to create visual paths to follow, is a highly effective way of doing so. 

This is another matter in which long exposure can significantly enhance a landscape or cityscape image’s impact and overall visual design. Through long exposure, a photographer can successfully render motion elements into patterns and textures that are not just pleasing to the eyes but also contribute into creating a visual path in the frame.

On a significantly windy day, moving clouds can be used to create movement in the sky. With the use of ND filters and a remote trigger to control exposure time, clouds moving from side-to-side within the frame can create an additional layer and dimension to the photo. Even more so, clouds moving from front-to-back within the frame create diagonal lines that create virtually infinite depth. 

When shooting bodies of water, this can be done depending on the rate at which the current flows. When photographing a flowing river, an exposure of a couple of seconds will leave rough and turbulent textures in the foreground. When shot for 30 seconds or more, the water will be rendered in a smooth and silky surface.

Either way, the effect creates a notion of movement especially when there are still elements such as rocks or vegetation immersed in the flowing water. When shooting from a beach, the crashing and back-flow of water on the solid foreground creates a similar effect. 

In the urban setting, there are many visual elements that can be used to create visual paths or leading lines. Aside from the possibility of also using clouds and water when present from a certain urban vantage point, structures such as lamp posts, roads, tunnels, and details from architecture can be used.


However, perhaps the most popular way of rendering patterns in the city is using traffic trails. With the use of long exposure, the light from moving cars can be used to create flowing patterns around and into the cityscape. Doing this depends on your distance from the moving vehicles and how fast they are moving. When shooting very close to the foreground, a few seconds of exposure will leave thick enough trails because of the illuminated surfaces of the vehicles.

When shooting from far away, longer exposures have to be done especially when movement is slow because of heavy traffic, or if there are not enough cars moving to fill the spaces with light trails. 

There are many ways that long exposure techniques can enhance and improve both landscape and cityscape images. By looking at the potential of what motion can infuse into your composition, any shooting scenario can be improved with a tripod, some filters, and a good camera remote trigger. 

Blog Credit: Nicco Valenzuela

Nicco started his photographic journey in 2007 practicing the craft as a hobby. Currently, he shoots for various local and international architectural firms and construction companies. Out of his love for sharing his knowledge, Nicco began writing about photography and various pieces of gear.

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