Monday, July 1, 2013

About the the subject in photography

  When I started photography for a few years ago, in the beginning it was all about the subject. I photographed almost everything, people, flowers, insects, animals, buildings and whatever else there was to be photographed. The truth is that you need a subject for a photo, it's essential, and you can  find good subjects almost everywhere. Now this doesn't mean that a great subject makes a good picture, it may but... too often not, especially if you don't make the best of your subject.
  One good way to ruin your photo is to make your subject blend in to its surroundings. If the picture is a mess, just too much going on, the subject will vanish somewhere in there and the viewer will, in most cases, loose hes interest fast for the picture and move on to the next more pleasing image.
  So make it simple. Don't leave the viewer to wonder too much over what hes looking at.

In this image the subject is quite clear, right? A bird, a common goldeneye swimming in the center of the frame. Nice, at least it's quite clear what's in the picture, what is the main subject and even all kinds of extra distractions are minimized. There's even a reflection in the water, adding something extra in to the picture. The bad thing is that this image look like my version of the flag of Japan. The main thing in the center and that's it, nothing else... the possible viewer moves ahead, he saw the duck and that was it. So if there really isn't a good reason to place the subject in the center of the image (sometimes there is) don't do it. Use the rule of thirds or some other composition. Most likely your image will be more dynamic and intriguing than a center framed one. Here I made a crop o  same duck. Nothing special, just the  duck moved a more pleasing place in the upper left corner so that its head and eye is in the crossing
of  imagined tic tack toe lines, the rule of thirds. As said before, not a big change but enough so that the image will look more pleasing. This is something that you can do in post, but it's better if you make the composition already when shooting, that way you save time and the image quality won't degrade because of unnecessary cropping of the image.

One thing I've learned with the time is to get close. This you can do either by using a long tele-lens, good for shy subjects or you can always use your feet if you are photographing static or less shy subjects. So, how close is enough? Depends, but I really like those frame filling shots where the subject fills the whole frame or at least almost. You can always make images of animals from a distance, but when you get close enough the image will be more intimate.

 Remember not only to get close but focus on the eyes too, if your subject have eyes. With frame filling shots there won't be any distracting factors and the viewer can concentrate fully on the main thing, the subject.
 So the subject is important, but you have to remember that the composition can make the subject stand out. Try to leave all the distracting details out of the frame either (the best option) when you shoot or in post, when cropping the image on your computer. And  one more way to emphasize your subject is to fill the frame.
  This was about the subject, but then came the light and that's something I'm going to write about in some other post.