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  • Writer's pictureErin Schwartzkopf

Improve your photos with frames

If you are anything like me, you have a ton of photos on your phone of your favorite pets. In this day and age, our phones are pretty much always with us and the cameras that come with them are really quite impressive. We love having those images to browse through, make our wallpaper or cover image or profile pic.

Would you like a simple tip to level up those images? It is pretty simple and you can totally do it. The answer? Frames.

I don't mean frames for your wall or glasses (although, those could certainly work!). I mean finding things to frame your subject. Most of my images are out in nature, so I am always trying to find something to naturally frame the dog or horse. Framing your subject helps to draw the eye and attention in to it. Sometimes it can add a feeling of a captured secret moment. Sometimes this means placing your subject in a framed situation like we see here...

This particular location had some great little clusters of trees that I immediately knew I wanted to use to frame this handsome dogger. The park did not have a lot of opportunity for plants to be used to frame aside from this, but I loved the effect here. The fork in the tree was low enough that the pup's back feet are firmly on the ground where he is not only actually safe, but he feels safe, too. The space between them was not so high as to make it difficult or awkward for him to put his paws up onto and put his handsome little face in that space. The Y of the tree takes your eye straight into the dog here.

Low hanging tree branches work really well, too. I used the gorgeous fall foliage to frame this beautiful mare. You might think that this would only work for horses, but...there are several things you can look for and do to use this tactic for any size dog, too. First, depending on where you live, you may have trees or bushes that naturally have low hanging boughs. Maybe you have Spanish Moss? Weeping Willows or Weeping Birch? What about elevating the dog? A stool or stump or rock may be high enough to be able to frame your dog and still be safe.

Sometimes you can sit your dog in the frame like I'd done with this sweet older fella. If you have park benches where you are, you can use the sides of them to frame your pup by putting Fluff Nugget on the bench and having him look at you under the arm rest. Bicycle racks can serve as amazing framing opportunities. Gazebos, doorways, archways, even bridges can serve as frames. Bridges in the distance can be especially interesting for framing as the perspective is with them behind the subject rather than in front of or right around and you are photographing the bridge from the side. For those of you with bridges with beautiful architecture can really use this to your benefit. You can also use the sides of a bridge to frame a dog on the sides. You see...a frame doesn't HAVE to go the entire way around to achieve the desired result.

What if you don't have a frame available? You can make your own! For this cowgirl's portrait, I held up these beautiful wildflowers to the end of my lens to help frame her and her handsome horse, along with the trunk of the tree she is leaning against. You can do this with flowers, long grasses, leaves. You can even use an actual picture frame and literally FRAME your subject by propping the frame (with glass and back removed) up using rocks or sticks or pushing up some dirt behind and then position your subject on the other side far enough away to visually fit inside the frame when you take your photo.

I encourage you to look at your surroundings with a fresh view point and see what things you might be able to use to take those photos of your pet to another level. What features do you have where you go with your animals that would add just a little extra something to your photos? Here are some more examples for inspiration...

I belong to a group of photographers from around the world that participates in a blog circle. We share entertaining and informative content for your enjoyment! Next up, New England Dog Photographer Darlene Woodward of Pant the Town Photography introduces a new "retro" style frame for your boho home. Once you finish her story, look to the bottom for the next one. Once you make it back here, you know you have completed the circle! Enjoy!

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