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Frames are the portion of “land” in which any masterpiece can live. They define the boundaries in which a scene resides, and they can be seen in natural forms thanks to beautiful oddities found on a regular basis. Frames can be found everywhere – from natural places, to serendipitous and unconscious arrangements of things fashioned by the human hand.
Note: If you are interested in taking the composition of your images beyond basics such as framing and the rule of thirds, we highly recommend Kent DuFault's guide to advanced composition.
A natural frame is anything that creates boundaries that can enclose one or several scenes when human vision interacts with them. Common natural frames can be found in branches of trees and formations of rocks. Common human-made frames include windows and mirrors.
The trick behind any type of frame is that it must help you bring focus to your subject. At a composition level, using natural frames is quite useful. Finding them requires a sensible eye and some luck as well. Using such frames is considered to be an interesting practice when it comes to composition, as we we'll see later in the section on “sub-framing”.