When you look at your chosen scene with the naked eye, your brain quickly picks out subjects of interest. The camera however doesn’t discriminate – it captures everything that is in front of it, which can often lead to a cluttered and messy picture with no clear focal point if you're not paying attention to what is in front of you.
So what you need to do, is choose your subject, then select a focal length or camera viewpoint that makes it the centre of attention in the frame.
You can’t always keep other objects out of the picture, so try to keep them in the background or make them part of the story. Sometimes though simply moving a couple of feet - forward backwards or side to side may be enough to remove any unwanted distractions from an image though.
If you are trying to keep an image simple, then Silhouettes, textures and patterns are all subjects that work quite well as a simple composition.
However, when you’re shooting a large-scale scene it can be hard to know how big your subject should be in the frame, and how much you should zoom in by. Leaving too much empty space in a scene is the most widespread composition mistake. It makes your subject smaller than it needs to be and can also leave viewers confused about what they’re supposed to be looking at. Remember distraction in a photograph isn't always caused by an object - sometimes it's caused by the lack of an object.....
To avoid these problems you could zoom in to fill the frame, or get closer to the subject in question - I prefer the getting closer to the subject option when it is an option - obviously this isn't always possible. The first approach flattens the perspective of the shot and makes it easier to control or exclude what’s shown in the background, but physically moving closer can give you a more interesting take on things and make you see alternative options for framing.
Zooming in may be the easy option, but it's not always the best option for the image.
Another top tip tomorrow. If you would like to sign up to the monthly online class please just get in touch. It is £40/month and you get weekly emails with ideas for subjects to photograph,plus projects to set yourself that will help you to improve your photography. Whatever the weather you will have things to try with your camera.
It also includes two monthly reviews - one in the middle and one at the end of each month of your work and what you have achieved throughout that month and then pointers to move forward.
This can also be purchased as a gift for somebody, please just email for details.