Monday, November 5, 2012
Simplify Your Images
One way to improve your images is to simplify them
One way to improve your images is to simplify them. Reduce the compositional elements to the basics so the viewer clearly knows the reason why the image was made. Clutter, busyness and distractions complicate a photo and leave the viewer wondering what the main subject is. Carve away the extraneous, so what you see in the viewfinder are just the essentials. Study the entire viewfinder, especially the edges, to make sure there's nothing unnecessary. This takes practice. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll upgrade your images.
There are a number of techniques to utilize to simplify a composition. Use a zoom or long-focal-length lens to eliminate background clutter. The busier the background, the truer this rings out. A tight crop reduces the subject to the essential parts. Be careful to not crop off important parts of the subject. As you zoom in, be aware of the background. If it's still busy, move to your right, left, get higher or get lower to eliminate the distraction. Another technique is to use depth of field to your advantage. Open the aperture to throw the background out of focus. If the subject is very close to the background, this won't be possible. If you can, have the subject change position. A wide-open aperture, coupled with a long lens, with the subject a good distance from the background, is a great recipe to limit depth of field.
Another technique is to move in close. It's the same as if you use a zoom, but you zoom with your feet. The closer you get to the subject, the more you isolate it from a distraction. Pare down what you see until the image is reduced to the basics. An alternative is to change the angle from which you photograph. A few steps to either side can make all the difference in the world.
USE DEPTH OF FIELD: In the image of the merlin in the wildflowers, I intentionally threw the background out of focus. I used a long lens and set the aperture to wide open. While both of these were key, the aspect that had the biggest impact was I got on my belly so the background would be far away from the bird.
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