More than Frame within a Frame

Hi again, this time I am going to write about sub-framing, next after lines is this possibly the hardest composition discipline to master. Yet when you get it right is it moving your picture from being a good looking photo, to a great photo. My fascination of Henri Cartier-Bresson work comes into play again, a true master of composition I simply love his work and envy the way he elegantly uses sub framing to make his photo’s interesting. Sub framing is dominating my mindset every time I do street photography, yet I seldom succeed with it. It is not enough to have an eye for it; a great deal of luck is also needed.


This blog post features photo’s done by my Niece Rocío Fernanda (Santiago Chile), whose work is so annoyingly good in this regard. The photos taken is taken with a small pocket digital camera, I never fail to admire her works.

So what exactly is sub framing? It might sound incredible straight forward, by framing your motive or an object with lines or contrast you create a picture within the picture. This emphasis the object in the composition and can be particularly effective when an object is small and surrounded by detail. So why is that so important, what is it that sub framing gives to a photo. Sub framing is controlling the viewer’s focus and draws his attention to where you want it, at the same time it creates a sense of depth.

When to sub frame? There is no rule of thumb when to sub frame, for me it is generally something I do when I feel a photo isn’t working for me. I am in that moment of frustration, something just isn’t quite right; the photo keeps coming out busy, bland or tedious. In such situations I usually try to incorporate this composition element. An example is Street photography which easily be    comes too confusing due to loads of elements; sub framing yields the needed simplicity and helps to gain that much needed focus.

Don’t exaggerate it. Because sub framing became an obsession to me, I tried to incorporate this composition idea is most of my photos. The photos came out sought and unreal. I guess this is what makes sub framing so tough, it is not enough to achieve a frame on around your motives. The framing has to come naturally; otherwise you will end up with a cliché.



Tunnel at Søbygård by Martin Jack


Cool walk by Martin Jack

3 thoughts on “More than Frame within a Frame”

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