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Framing: trees focus on the church of Weissenbach an der Triesting, Austria
A framing view of the Uetersen Rosarium.

In visual arts and particularly cinematography, framing is the presentation of visual elements in an image, especially the placement of the subject in relation to other objects. Framing can make an image more aesthetically pleasing and keep the viewer's focus on the framed object(s). It can also be used as a repoussoir, to direct attention back into the scene. It can add depth to an image, and can add interest to the picture when the frame is thematically related to the object being framed.


The goal is often to focus the viewer's attention upon the subject, but the ends and means are ultimately at the discretion of the artist. It is accomplished by manipulating the viewpoint of the image, rather than the object(s) within.

Framing, especially in the photographic arts, is primarily concerned with the position and perspective of the viewer. The position of the observer has tremendous impact on their perception of the main subject, both in terms of aesthetics and in their interpretation of its meaning.

For example, if the viewer was placed very far away from a lone subject in an image, the viewer will gather more information about the subjects' surroundings and bearing, but very little in terms of emotions. If the setting was in the middle of a flat plain, the viewer might perceive a sense of loneliness or that the subject is lost, because the viewer cannot find any visual cues to orient the location of the subject. If some foreground elements are put in front of the viewer, partially obscuring the subject, the viewer would take the position of an unseen observer. Especially if the artist chooses to hint at some malicious intent, a member of the audience might feel uncomfortable looking through the eyes of, say, a stalker.

Factors determining frame


  1. ^ Wind, Edgar (October 1938). "The revolution of history painting". Journal of the Warburg Institute. 2 (2): 117. doi:10.2307/750085. JSTOR 750085. S2CID 195030759. He fulfils the function of a 'repoussoir',and by leading the imagination into a distant land,effectively offsets the shock of seeing the hero die in a modern uniform.
  2. ^ Mark Galer, Photography Foundations for Art and Design, page 73