Framing a subject. A simple photography trick when all else goes wrong!

This photograph was taken with the help of my youngest daughter, Izzy. She very kindly agreed to hold up this old picture frame so I could take a shot of a colourful market as we looked down at it from a bridge overhead.

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This was the ideal scene for the effect I wanted to achieve. Izzy was certainly impressed with the results and framing a photograph like this is very straightforward.

Even though I am very happy with the result, this shot was my ‘reserve’ image. All week I have been playing with Photoshop trying to create a clever typography-style portrait of my family. I cannot deny the harsh truth: the results were dreadful. I instead resorted to this very easy, but effective photographic trick. 

Taking this image was very simple. I bought an old picture frame from a charity shop for £1. I then looked around for good locations that would give me a good, colourful subject that I could highlight within the frame.

The picture was taken at dusk with a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second, aperture set to f7 and ISO was 6400. As you can see, my young assistant did a marvellous job of holding the frame in place. 

Once back at home, I opened the image up in Photoshop and created a black and white adjustment layer. This converted the entire image to black and white. I then selected the ‘paint brush’ tool and carefully painted the colour back-in, within the boundary of the frame. Aside from cropping the picture, I have done nothing else to it. 

I hope you like the picture. I think this is a very simple but effective way of creating a fun photograph. It’s an approach that could be adapted for all sorts of scenarios. 

Have you ever attempted taking a picture this way? have you any tips for framing an image? if so please do leave a comment below. I’d be especially keen to hear from if you try this trick yourself. 

This post has been added to the #MySundayPhoto linky hosted on the Photalife blog. Do follow the link and take a look at the linky yourself. 

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  1. December 9, 2018 / 6:58 am

    It looks great! It’s not something I’ve ever thought of doing, but I would be tempted to give it a go.

    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:37 am

      Thanks Sarah. The beauty of this is that anyone can give it a go. You don’t need to worry about the editing, just frame your subject and you’ll get a great image.

  2. December 9, 2018 / 9:16 am

    Such a fantastic technique. Thanks for the Photoshop tips. I need to have a go with it soon!

    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:36 am

      Go on Paul, I challenge you to give it a shot yourself. It’s such a straightforward technique.

  3. December 9, 2018 / 11:57 am

    Hi John, I love your creativity! This isn’t something I’ve seen done before and it’s so simple. At first look, I thought you’d done some clever framing using a mirror, but then realised your image was missing. This is something I would like to try sometime for sure, my problem would probably be finding a willing helper.



    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:35 am

      Ah, no, not using a mirror at all! It’s a really easy idea isn’t it? Go on Debs, I think you should try it for yourself.

  4. December 9, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    So clever and effective John. Would never have thought to try this.

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:34 am

      Go on Darren, try it yourself. You know you want to. . .

  5. December 9, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    Clever shot. I’ve never tried anything like this, and generally use picmonkey for my editing. But I know they can now do things like painting colour back in so should try it.

    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:34 am

      Oh I used to use Picmonkey. It is easier to use that Photoshop but it’s functionality is a lot more limited. Anyway, do give it a try. It’s such a straightforward trick and works well.

  6. December 9, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    That is a brilliant photo! Such a clever idea!
    I think I might have to give it a try! x

    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:33 am

      Do it Kim! It’s really so easy. you don’t need to do any of the technical stuff with Photoshop if that’s not your thing. Just use a frame. It’s so easy.

    • John Adams
      December 10, 2018 / 5:32 am

      It was so simple to do. Thoroughly recommend giving it a try if you get the chance.

  7. December 10, 2018 / 5:33 am

    that’s a fab idea, well done Izzy #mysundayphoto

  8. December 10, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    what a great result from what seems a simple idea, but getting it right would not be quite so easy. Never envisaged market stalls having lights on them, but then I never go to a street market. #MySundayPhoto