I apologize for not being able to update this portion of my blog. I’m simply heaped with so much travel backlog that I don’t think I’ll be able to finish everything.
So before I launch into another long trip, I guess it’s time to post another one for this series.
One of the most basic things about photographic composition is subtraction. Remove everything non-essential to the subject at hand and let your subject be showered with all the attention from your viewer’s eye.
Easy enough to do especially when you’re shooting objects at home where you can control your environment.
Say you’re shooting a toy, a flower in a vase or anything at all. Before plunking your subject on a table, look around first. From your vantage, ask yourself these questions: Would the background be distracting? Are there elements or designs on the table surface that might divert from your subject? Are there things lying around that your frame might hit?
A simple perspective shift can easily solve a cluttered background; you can move your location or simply move your camera a bit to the left or to the right. Distracting designs on the table? Use a bond paper, fabric or some other material to place over it. Then make sure there are no other objects from view. I know you can clone these things out in Photoshop, but it’s simply easier to pick them up and remove them in real life.
If those things are just not possible, zoom in on your subject and simply fill your frame with it. You may use your lens zoom or if that’s not enough, your feet.
Doing this outdoors is harder though since you can only control your environment to some degree.
I remember shooting a landscape before and there were these plastic debris all over the beach. I removed each one before pressing the shutter; it’s just easier to do it before shooting than spending countless minutes trying to perfectly clone it off using the computer.
If you’re shooting a busy scene where lots of people are passing, just wait it out. Make sure you already have your settings correct and your composition ready so once the scene clears up, you’ll just have to pick up your camera and press the shutter button.
Don’t compromise your photo with a pwede na yan (that’s good enough) mentality. The last thing you’d want on a stunning image is a person in the background making funny faces.
Another technique you can use in isolating your subject is by utilizing the depth of field (DOF) of your camera lenses. The lower the aperture of your lens, the shallower it’s DOF is. This means you can blur your background with only your subject sharp and in focus. Just dial the aperture at its lowest; f/1.2 to f/1.8 usually for prime lenses and f/3.5 for zoom lenses.
This might be harder to do for point and shoot and celphone cameras however since unlike its DSLR counterparts, it’s DOF is so much deeper. I’ll discuss how to get a nice and shallow depth of field for these kinds of cameras in another article.
I have this habit of looking around the viewfinder for some seconds before clicking the shutter. I recommend everyone to try it. Just take a bit of time to look at the four corners of your viewfinder; let your eyes roam. Ask yourself if all the elements inside the frame are essential to the photograph. If you can still subtract something away, subtract it. Remove all unnecessary elements until all you got are the bare essentials.
The most effective photographs are the simplest ones. As they say, less is always more.