Frame within a Frame

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With Teaching Artist Liz Speed. 

Frame within a Frame is a composition technique used across photography, cinematography and even painting to add interest to imagery, and focus attention on a subject. In this lesson, you'll understand different ways artists use this technique. We'll look at examples, then demonstrate the technique on a photo walk. Then, you'll get a list of options to try this out for yourself.

What you need:

  • Any kind of digital camera. Phones, tablets or simple point-and-shoot cameras are ideal for this exercise.

How to do it:

In the video below, follow along with Ms. Speed as she breaks down this exercise!


Looking for something you saw in the video?

Try it out!

Take you own photo walk and try this out. Then, submit here for feedback on your work! Here's your challenge list:

  • Frame a subject with an object that you choose
  • Frame a subject with a frame that appears in the background of an image
  • Frame a subject with something in your environment that appears in the foreground of an image.
  • Combine frame within a frame with a high angle 
  • Combine frame within a frame with a low angle

Extra challenges:

  • Complete some or all of the list above using video instead of photos, and either move the camera, or the subject while maintaining the frame.
  • Create layers by adding an extra frame, so a frame within a frame within a frame!
  • Use a frame to convey power or drama, like the photojournalistic examples from the video
  • Purposely use framing to create an image where it's hard to find a clear point of focus within the image.

Related videos you may also enjoy:


Espeed headshot

Liz Speed leads Westinghouse Arts Academy's media production courses. She's an experienced producer/writer and PA-certified teacher.  She won an EMMY Award for production work at WQED/PBS, developed web content for Walt Disney Television, and traveled internationally creating videos for a leadership development consultancy.

Fill out our form to learn more about photo and media arts classes at Westinghouse Arts Academy.