What is compositional framing in photography and why is it used?
Compositional framing is the art of including natural or man-made structures in a photograph. The goal is to use these structures to frame a photo to create a sense of depth of field and focus, as well as draw the viewer's eye to a specific part of the image. If done properly, framing will add interest, or clarity to the subject matter or theme of the photo.
Natural structures could include trees/branches, leaves, or a rock formation. Below is an example of using a tree branch to frame the photo of Mt. Chocorua. Notice how your eye travels along the white birch branch leading to Mt. Chocorua, the main point of focus. By including the trees in the foreground you also get a better feel for depth of field.
Man made structures could include gates, archways, stone structures, buildings, wood structures etc. A good example of this are the two images below. The one of the Garden Trellis invites your eye to walk the stone path out to the pier and beyond to the lake. If the photo were taken of just the lake, it wouldn't have had the same emotional impact. The other photo is another example of using a man made structure, in this case a wood gazebo, to frame the rising sun.
By adding natural or man made structures to you photos, in certain cases you can enhance the final image.
Ron Bowman, NH Nature Photographer