Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cut Out Distractions

There are lots of things we can do with our cameras to make our pictures look better, but sometimes there are simple things we can do that have nothing to do with our camera settings.  Many times simplifying the scene we are photographing can make our images look better.  Simplifying helps to focus a viewer's attention on our subject.  Often, what seems to stand out when we are looking at real life in three dimensions can blend in when we see it in a two dimensional picture; so it's good to reduce the number of competing or distracting elements that we include in our frame.

There are two primary ways to cut out distractions.  First, we can change our angle in order to change what is behind our subject.  Second, (sometimes) we can just move something out of the way - or wait for something (people) to move out of the way.  In either case, the goal is to make the background more plain and uniform so that our subject doesn't have any competition for attention.

In the picture below I noticed the colorful toys were distracting from my subject.

So I moved them.

If you have the means, you can remove distractions after the fact on your computer.  This is the same image as the one above with a little Photoshop magic: