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Using Framing and Layering Techniques in Your Photos

On many of his safaris, WPS Director E. David Luria discusses techniques for drawing the viewer into your photo.  Two of the popular techniques to do that are framing and layering. But what exactly are framing and layering techniques?

Framing is just what the word indicates – photographing elements in the photo that “frame” the subject, like in the photo below. Cherry blossom branches are used to frame the upper part of statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. which is bathed in the warm light of the early morning sun.

 

Layering is adding foreground (and possibly mid-ground) elements to your photo to enhance (and perhaps frame) the subject. The silhouetted people make great foreground and mid-ground elements in the photo of the National Cathedral during the Space, Light & Sound event in early February.

Another issue to keep in mind when using framing and layering techniques is the depth of field, which will determine how in focus your framed or layered elements are. The depth of field is controlled by the f/stop. A small f/stop (which is a larger opening) will yield a shallow depth of field, meaning that the foreground and background will be out of focus. In the photo of the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., an f/stop of 6.3 was used. A larger f/stop (which is a smaller opening)  will yield a deeper depth of field, meaning that more of the foreground and background will be in focus. In the photo from the National Cathedral, an f/stop of 13 was used because the photographer wanted the silhouettes in the foreground to be sharp as well as the the Rose window and the interior wall at the far end of the nave.

A good way to remember what the f/stop does is this:
An f/stop of 2 will render 2 people in focus and an f/stop of 22 will render 22 people in focus.

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