Sub Framing

Image result for robert frank subframing


For another larger assignment, three various techniques were analysed and two images per technique had to be taken, one being Subframing. This is when a subject is framed within the overall frame of the picture. For example, a famous and good example of the use of this technique was a picture taken by Robert Frank in 1952-3. The Hurst door window has framed the man, bringing the viewer’s attention to this point. This has produced an interesting focal point that engages the viewers.


Figure 1

Figure one presents one of the two images for ‘Subframing’. I have used colour to frame the model in this picture.

Equipment and Camera Settings

A wide angle lens with the focal range of 16-35, was used with the Canon 7D. The wide angle was convenient as I wanted a large portion of the backdrop in this image to allow room for the blue background in the centre. The high key flash allowed me to use 100 ISO which is my preferred setting to reduce the amount of noise in the image. I used f6 to keep the model sharp but blurring out some of the backgrounds and the shutter speed of 1/60 froze the movements from the model. I enjoy using flash and found it easy to use for this shoot.

However, in reflection, I should have directed the flash head on the right towards the backdrop more so that is had a consistent white appearance. I do not want the grey tones in the backdrop which I am dissatisfied with.

Location and Setup

I was practising high key lighting in the university studio when I thought of using a small amount of the background to place a different colour material. The white backdrop, along with the intensity of the high key flash would make the other colour stand out. I then found a blue plastic sheet that was taped to an old blackboard. This was a fun experiment that used improvisation to set a basic colour backdrop from the materials available in the room.

The blue sheet is not evenly centred in the image and is at an angle. I do not like the uneven appearance but due to the unserious pose from the model, I think it has helped to make the blue sheet less of the focus and create an unserious atmosphere to the image that blends the angled framing of the sheet with the ‘mood’ of the picture. I also had to remove the tape in Photoshop CC as this did not have an attractive appearance to the image. I also removed some of the marks on the sheet but some still remain as the sheet was very used and dirty. 


Originally I intended the colour to be behind the head of the model but slightly towards one side so that not all his head was inside the coloured sheet. However, the large scale of the sheet meant this was more difficult to achieve. Therefore I positioned the blue sheet to the centre of the frame with the model inside. I don’t think this was as effective as it could have been and am not happy with the overall positioning of the sheet.

The model was in an unserious pose which I think makes the picture less serious but interesting to view. If I were to recreate this picture I would ensure that the model’s hands are within the frame, I think it’s more effective that they have gone outside the sheet onto the white background but then lost effectiveness when the hands went out of frame.

The blue was used to stand out against the background without taking too much attention away from the model. Blue is known to be a psychological soothing colour, whereas if I were to use red this is a dominant colour which may have been too distracting.


Overall I was able to subframe the model with the use of colour. I think it was a simple setup that is clear how the sub-framing was used but I do not think it was a creative use of this technique. I think other emotions could have been more effective and the lighting could have been improved. There are some aspects that I would change and would create a more impacting composition that produces a story behind the image


Figure 2

Equipment and Camera Settings

I used my wide angle lens because this gave me freedom to capture landscape pictures with the largest amount of the scenery in the frame compared to my other lenses. During this time the sun was very strong, creating strong shadows and harsh highlights. This was a challenge as I was not expecting such bright conditions. To compensate I had to use a fast shutter speed of 1/1250 with the ISO set to 100. I am not used to using such as high shutter speed but enjoyed the opportunity as it meant most fast movements would be sharp and frozen in time. The low ISO meant that the amount of noise in the picture was limited which I am happy with,

I found that when reviewing the images, many were overexposed. I think more experimented was necessary with the camera settings. One important factor that I, unfortunately, forgot about in the moment was the aperture. This was set to f2.8 which would have made the images brighter as the lens was letting the most amount of light in. This also meant that the landscape images were not very sharp, only having a shallow depth of field. I think this is noticeable in the image used for this assignment shown in figure two. I am unsatisfied with the results as I know they could have been better and I should have thought about every aspect before and during the shoot.

I was also taking pictures for a game development group studying at Glyndwr University. The images were to be used as reference images for their project as it was a based on the castle. I think distracted me too much and created more pressure that during the time I was not thinking the technical aspect of the camera through appropriately.

Location and Setup

This was taken at Conwy Castle in North Wales. I enjoyed this setting as I prefer outdoor photography, especially in natural landscapes and old architecture. I have not had much experience with landscape photography but defiantly would like to venture out more to capture landscape pictures. I need further practice with this type of environment and understand best camera settings to use with the uncontrollable lighting.


Unlike the other pictures were taken during this shoot I took this picture in portrait perspective. This was because I wanted to follow the angle of the window which was tall and narrow. I capture some of the bricks on the side to frame the landscape in the background.I think the window creates a different perspective compared to typical landscape photography. It creates a sense of secrecy that the viewers are now able to view what is hidden beyond the castle walls.

I caught not only the natural landscape of the water and land but also the architecture which creates an interesting contrast. I think that more of the window should have been featured to symbolise sub-framing more noticeably.


To conclude, I believe at this has met the criteria of sub-framing but could have been clearer by preserving more of the window. I think the image is more interesting than the other submitted for sub-framing shown in figure one.

There are defiantly areas to improve, such as the aperture which should have a large f-stop number to ensure that all the landscape is sharp and focused. Further practise is needed with extreme lighting conditions that are not controllable, both in low and high key lighting. However, this challenge was beneficial and much has been learned from the experience.


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