Since a Photographer does not control the elements in a Photograph, like a Painter, who can add, subtract or change elements. The Photographer must use the “What you see, is what you get” in the initial stages of the photographic process. The Edges of the photograph are the only way Photography has to “exclude” elements that detract from from the photograph. It is in these edges that helps define the meaning of the photograph. Whether to include or exclude something at the edges, is as important as the main subject is to the overall power of the final photograph. The edges help define the “space” in your photograph, and help guide your eye to the main subject.
Framing a photograph can have different forms, it will always help close the photograph in, so our eyes don’t wander off outside the framing.
Here is an example that uses a object “Inside” the photo to stop your eye from going to far to the left. and keeps you inside the photograph.
The biker is on the far right, and looking towards the left, so we will, by nature, will want to see “what” he is looking at. Hence, the need for something on the left to “frame” in the photograph, so our eyes “Stop” at the left edge.
There are many ways to “frame” a photograph. In landscape, you can use tree branches to frame the photograph. This will help add a 3 dimensional look to the photograph.
It is not always necessary to “Frame” every photograph, the power of your subject may be enough to hold the viewers attention. Like in this photograph
Here is another example with a well defined frame.
Here is one, that does not have a well defined frame, and there is no powerful statement to hold your attention. So, the photograph was unsuccessful.
More examples of “Framing”
The best way to help you with with “framing”, is to say that you don’t want the things around the edges to distract you from the main subject. In many cases, you may not have a perfect choice. But, you may be able lessen the framing distraction enough to be ignored, for the most part.