Pay Attention to ME!

Tips for making a single element stand out in your photographs. 😉

When you shoot, do you take a moment to consider the most important element in your photograph? For this shot, I wanted to get in really close – and show off the beautiful, reflective droplets clinging to the leaf. I also wanted a very clear point of interest. So, I started looking for a single element that would work well for me. This little droplet was perfect. It stands out because it is much larger than the other droplets, and because it breaks the line that runs through the lower third of the image – between the leaf and the background.

Hakalau - Big Island - Hawai'i, USA
Here are a few tips for isolating a single element for impact.

1. You can blur the background to allow sharply focus foreground objects stand out. Blurring the background will also help obscure potentially distracting elements, which can pull the eye away from your point of interest.

2. Look for contrast. In this case I’m using contrast of size. The large drop stands out because it is so much larger than all those little ones. You can also use contrast of shape, color, tone, and so on.

3. Break the pattern. All those tiny little droplets make a pattern in this photograph – but I’ve broken that pattern. Twice. First, I positioned the leaf so that it’s edge cuts through the lower third of the photo. That brings your eye to the lower area right away. And then, just to be sure I have you where I want you, I’ve broken the pattern again by including the large droplet in the frame.

What techniques do you use to help isolate a single element within the frame? There are thousands of ways to do this. I always enjoy the challenge.


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About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.