Using composition guideline 'frames' with pet photography

April 02, 2021  •  3 Comments

Frames – that’s the pet photography theme for this week’s blog circle.   If we think of frames in the most common sense, perhaps you think of something like this? 


Antique Frame

Maxx and Me Pet Rescue - SydneyMaxx and Me Pet Rescue - SydneyDog, Sydney, photo in an antique frame

If you want to hang a photograph on the wall or have it on display the only way it was done until more recent times is with a frame - whether it is wood, metal or even plastic.  Antique frames tended to be painted with 'gold' and were much more decorative than many of today's frames.  If you're interested in fostering or adopting this girl, please go to to learn more about her and her needs as she has a special background and is looking for the right human to trust.


Frame/Frames - A Photography Perspective

As we think about ‘Frames’ (or Frame or Framing) from a photography perspective we are thinking about exactly what do we want in the photograph?  What do we want to include? What do we want to exclude?  The truth is that many people today take a lot of photographs and they probably don’t think about these things – but it can make a difference with the impact of your photos.

There are many different rules (or guidelines) for composition within a photograph.  Framing is all about what elements of a scene that you are currently viewing are going to be within your frame.  Many different things can be used for this composition guideline.  In nature, it can be branches, leaves, flowers.  If you’re thinking about buildings – doorways, fences, windows – all make for framing your subject.  This also helps to provide a place for the viewer’s eyes to rest, a focal point helping guide you on exactly where to look – where the photographer wants you to look.

Let’s look at some examples that use this composition guideline while incorporating a pet.

Frames using the camera viewer 

If you frame just your subject and there is nothing else in the photo – everyone knows what you are taking a photo of right?  This photo is clearly about Abby – there is nothing else of any interest in the photo.  I am betting this is what Abby would like life to be “All about Abby” but it isn’t the world she nor we live in.

Dog face portrait framed with grass backgroundDog face portrait framed with grass backgroundAbby, hound dog, facial portrait in outdoor setting.

Frames using objects 

I remember a number of years ago we drove over to central Florida and we saw a dog park empty (no dogs! – the perfect kind).  Back in these days, we were a single dog family and Jimbo was the center of our dog life.  Jim had this wonderful idea to get Jimbo to stand at the end of this ‘tube’ so that I could frame him within the circular object – Jimbo didn’t get it and while it’s not perfect, we remember the story behind it with good memories.  Using a frame within your photograph can help to keep the viewer’s eye in the photograph and prevent it from travelling outside the image.

Dog framed by red circular play tubeDog framed by red circular play tubeJimbo, large dog, framed by a red circular play tube at dog park.

Here’s a photograph of Rue sleeping while she is framed in my yellow sweatshirt – all cozy and happy.

Dog framed in yellow sweatshirtDog framed in yellow sweatshirtDog sleeping wrapped and framed in yellow sweatshirt

In most of the above examples, the frame is surrounding the subject.  But does it have to?  No.  The frame can be a wall, a door or perhaps even a shelf?  This little rescue puppy is sitting inside a child’s playhouse. 

Puppy in child playhousePuppy in child playhouseSoccer ball with brown puppy

Another type of framing using a palm branch across the top of the photograph.

Puppy on black backgroundPuppy on black backgroundCute puppy in black saucer chair

That's it for this week's pet photography blog.  For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Terri J Photography, specializing in photographing pets and their families in the Toronto area.

If you would like to discuss or book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to [email protected] or give us a call/text Linda at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough/Pinellas/Pasco/Polk counties in Florida).  We have flexible rates and packages to fit most everyone’s budget as we believe that having wonderful photographs of your pet is important to so many people.




Tracy Allard(non-registered)
So many clever ways to frame in the camera, I love this post!
Love the different framing explanations! Great post and gorgeous images!
Terri Jankelow(non-registered)
These are beautiful photos and a great explanation of framing!
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