We often have a subject in mind when we raise the camera to our eyes and click the shutter. Maybe we see an object or person that is interesting or beautiful or remarkable. Maybe we want to capture a moment in time or an event we will treasure for a long time. But sometimes when other people look at our photos, they might have trouble figuring out what the subject is. There may be several objects or people in the image competing for their attention.
This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121, I’d like to share some helpful techniques from the experts that can help us create images that lead our viewers to our subject.
Using Leading Lines & Repeating Patterns
When I took this photo recently at the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine, I was focusing on the man running towards the lighthouse. I framed the shot using the boardwalk and its railing, which create lines leading directly to the man and then the lighthouse. The zigzag pattern in the railing also “invites” our eyes to take a closer look. The lines and patterns help draw us into the scene and guide our eyes towards the subject.
Using Selective Focus
In this next photo, the purple dahlia is the subject. By zooming in close, I reduced the distracting elements in the background into a colorful blur. This technique helps the viewer focus on the flower.
I took this shot of the Portland Head Light last week just as the skies started to lighten and the white and red structures were highlighted against the blue sky. In this case, the colors help draw our eyes to the main subject of the image.
Using Contrast & Focusing on the Eyes
Contrasts in color, patterns, textures, old and new, fast and slow (for example) can help guide our viewers to focus on the subject. In this photo taken in Venice, my subject was the medieval angel. I liked the contrast between the modern-day stickers and the mural that was hundreds of years old. I also liked the difference in textures in the stone. Did you notice anything else about the subject? Did you look at the angel’s face? Humans are social creatures. Most of us are drawn to faces, especially to the eyes.
Freezing the Action
In this shot of a waterfall in Watkins Glen, New York, I used a high shutter speed to freeze the action. Our eyes are drawn to action and speed. We wonder where the water is coming from and where it is going. Our eyes also take note of the stationary objects surrounding the rushing water–in this case, the people climbing the stairs that lead up and around the waterfalls.
Framing the Shot with Arches, Doorways, etc.
A final technique to draw attention to our subject is to use doorways, arches, tunnels, and windows to create a frame around it. In this image, the subject is the remarkable blue sky, which is highlighted in and around the arch.
In this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121: Focus on the Subject, we invite you show us an image that uses leading lines, patterns, color, contrast, selective focus, freezing the action, doorways or arches, or the eyes of humans or animals to draw our attention to the subject. In your post, include a link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader.
Looking back at last week, we loved your visual treats, including images of Halloween, celebrated this week in parts of the world, as well as special trips, surprises in the mail and in the neighborhood, and unexpected finds.
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?
- Andre, host of the blog Solaner, treats us to his collection of gorgeous photos from a trip to Iceland.
- Sue (Mac’s Girl) takes us on a nostalgic visit to Long Grove and shares some of her favorite treats.
- Tracy from Reflections of an Untidy Mind shares visual treats of the spring season in Canberra, Australia.
- Sheetal of Sheetalbravon takes us to a spooky cabin in Lansdowne, India and a place frozen in time.
Many of you shared your preference for knowing our themes in advance versus enjoying a surprise. Beginning in November we’ll test advance sharing of our themes. In the final challenge of the month, we will post the theme for the first week of the new month.
Looking ahead to next week, we’re thrilled to announce our next guest host. The talented and creative Ana who hosts the blog Anvica’s Gallery is going to lead LAPC #122, so be sure to visit her site on Saturday, November 7th at noon.
In closing, once again I’d like to give special thanks to all of you in our creative community for your continued participation, support, enthusiasm, and creativity. You always inspire us! I hope you have a wonderful, creative week and please stay safe.
This post was inspired by this wonderful article by Peter West Carey from the Digital Photography School.