The “framing” of a photo refers to what is included and not included in your picture, from among all the things that your eyes see. In the studio, obviously, you have more control over what goes into the picture than you do with outdoor photography.

However, you can still exercise a lot of control when shooting photos outside of a studio. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself as you prepare to take a picture.

  1. What should be in the center of the photo – the object or space where the camera should be pointed? 
  2. What should be at the edge of the photo? Many times, it’s possible to set things up so that some natural object creates a “frame” around the picture. (This is where the term “framing” comes from, in fact.) For example, if you’re shooting an outdoor picture, the trunk and one horizontal limb of a tree can create a border. A wall, the edge of a street, or anything else that can draw a line at the top, bottom, or edge of the picture can serve the same purpose. Aside from this, attention to what appears at the edge is part of composition of the picture; you want it to direct attention to the center rather than distracting. 
  3. Decide how much else should be in the picture. Ideally, every element that appears in the shot should add to the whole and not consist of meaningless clutter. You can control a lot of this by changing your position before taking the shot, or by using a zoom lens and carefully positioning the frame. 
  4. Choose your angle carefully so as to make everything the right size, positional relationship to other elements of the photo, and importance in the picture. The mark of a truly great photo is that your eyes are immediately drawn to exactly what the photographer means to be the center of attention, and move according to a plan.