Compare these two images to see how distracting elements within the frame can impact a photograph. Jay captured the action is both shots beautifully – but the first image is much stronger than the second one. Why?
Take a look a the of little blue heron above. The bird is well isolated against a uniform background – the cool blue waters of the Shark River in Florida. The viewers attention is focused directly on the heron. The uniform background allows the viewer notice the details of the bird – the impressive shape of his body, the patterns in his feathers… even the tiny fish he has caught in his beak.
The second shot shows a green Heron in action. He has also caught a little fish, and is preparing to take flight. In this photograph the subject has to compete for your attention – the foliage around it is distracting, and the green heron nearly gets lost in the photograph.
When composing a photograph, pay attention to the competing elements in the scene. Eliminating distractions helps the viewer focus directly on the subject.