Photography Tutorials and Articles

Quick Composition Tip: DISTRACTIONS

Attention to Detail: Avoiding Distractions in Your Image

One of the best practices in landscape photography is avoiding distractions. Special thanks to Brett Michaud photography for this excellent tip. 

Brett’s Advice on Avoiding Distractions

When scouting compositions in nature, it is just as important to know what to leave OUT of a composition as it is to keep IN a composition. Avoiding distractions in your composition helps to isolate your subject and allows the viewer to focus on what is important in the image rather than being distracted by elements that should have been eliminated in the first place. And while it might be true that we can deal with some distracting elements in post-processing, if we can get it right in camera, it not only saves time but also makes for a stronger image in the long run.

So, what are some of these distractions that we should watch out for:

  1. Bright lights that are not part of or enhance our main subject. This could include overexposed portions of our image that draw the viewers’ attention away from the subject.
  2. Elements that interfere with the main subject or make the subject too busy (tree branches, leaves, high contrast areas etc.)
  3. Powerlines running through the background that are not an element of the composition.
  4. An uneven horizon line (can be easily fixed in the post but doing so requires some cropping of the composition, so it’s good practice to get it right in the field.)
  5. Dust spots (not something you can eliminate during composition, but they are definitely distracting elements in an image.)

These are but a few common distractions that I see while perusing images on Instagram, or elsewhere, that every photographer should keep in mind when finding compositions. And while some rules are made to be broken, if you find you are just not happy with your compositions, you might want to see if some of these common distractions are detracting from your final image.

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