Specify Your Subject
Written by: Tiffany Joyce
I’ve mentioned quite a bit, lately, about the importance of being specific in your subject when you take a photograph. Subject matter can go beyond actual things, people, or places, to also encompass a story, or a feeling. Whether your intended subject is an object, or a concept, it is important to have that subject clearly in mind when composing your shot.
You can add power and draw to your photograph by combining a person, place, or object, with a feeling or concept. A person becomes a lonely person. A landscape becomes a forbidding landscape. Wide angles portray a sense of space or vastness. Close-up shots portray a sense of intimacy. Including objects in your shot depict a sense of scale. Maintaining simplicity in your shot draws attention to the subject.
When I compose a shot, I first ask myself how I feel, personally, when I view the scene. I try to channel that feeling into the picture as I take it. I consider the angles I could use and the options I have to approach the shot, and often end up taking a series of shots that differ slightly in composition, in order to achieve the effect I’m looking for.
This weekend, I would like you all to take your cameras, look through the lens, and really examine your subject. Observe for a good long moment, before your finger ever gets near the shutter. Get in touch with the feeling, concept, or emotion. Clearly define the shot in specific terms. Consider these shots that I’ve found during my perusal of the Flickr Creative Commons, and how they make you feel. Practice by defining the subjects of these shots – the tangible, and intangible.
Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “The glory of the sky” by Kevin Dooley on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Making crossword puzzle” by Pedro Simoes on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Tree of Awe” by Camshafter on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Still Life” by Marilyn Jane on Flickr Creative Commons.
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