Photo Tip: Simplify the scene

Many photographers try to include everything including the kitchen sink into a photograph and that works for many types of photographs including landscapes, panoramas, skylines and urban environments. In my opinion, a really good photograph should only have a single idea in your photograph that conveys a complete story that hopefully engages us. When we learn to simplify the scene, things get more focused and easy to see and visualize for their message.


Photo Tip: Simplify the scene


Bring things into focus


Simplifying the scene with a blurry easy identified background

Simplifying the scene with a blurry easy identified background

Experimenting and pairing down

Pairing things down to one subject is not so easy as one would think especially in the context of creating a whole story that fits with your subject and the environment around your subject. A good way to isolate your subject is to move around and experiment with different angles while trying to create an uncluttered yet flattering background that adds a sense of time and place. Try to move around finding an ideal angle while including or excluding background that does not flatter yout subject.



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Another technique is to use selective focus and depth of field by experimenting with your aperture and blurring the background to varying degrees.  On DSLR cameras, widening or setting lower f-stops in aperture priority mode will incur variable blurring to the background based the f stop setting. On certain point and shoot cameras, you may also have this feature with with an image icon that represents a focus on a subject with a blurry background.


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This mental process of choosing and working with your subject presents opportunities to experiment and find unique ways of composition and featuring your subject and the backgrounds. Simplifying and focusing on your subject gives a better way of connecting with the subject and creating simple stories that your audience can relate to and enjoy.

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