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Get Closer to Your Subjects in 2020!

Himalyan Blue Poppy

Himalyan Blue Poppy
(45-200mm Zoom at 200mm)

WPS Director E. David Luria is always telling his clients to “get closer” when they are on a safari, just like his mother Estela, used to tell him when he was learning photography using a Brownie 620. It’s good advice, so make it a habit to try filling the frame with your image for a portion of the time when you are out shooting.

Hotel de Ville, Paris, France

Hôtel de Ville, Paris, France
(14-140mm Zoom at 81mm)

By filling the frame, you ensure that the subject takes priority in the photo. There will be very little or no border around the edge of the photo and sometimes the subject extends past the edge of the photo. Patterns – in architecture, art, and nature – work well as subjects. Flowers, whether it is a single  flower – especially  in full bloom – or a group work especially well. You can also try photographing small items, making them “larger than life” or capturing a detail of a large subject.

 

Bejeweled Fan, once owned by Catherine the Great

Bejeweled fan that belonged to Catherine the Great
Jewels! Exhibit, Hermitage Amsterdam
(14-40mm at 77mm)

Depending on the f-stop used, you can have most if not all of your image in sharp detail (f/16 or f/18) or highlight a portion of the image  by having a small area in focus and the rest of the image softly out of focus (f/6.3).

In most cases, you will need to get pretty close to your subject to fill the frame, but you can also use longer lenses to achieve the same effect without having to have your lens practically touching your subject. Zoom lenses work well for this purpose (All of the photos in this article were taken with zoom lenses.), but if you don’t have a zoom, do it the “old fashioned way” and zoom with your feet. You will still be a good distance away from your subject.

Cherry Blossoms, Tidal Basin, Washington, DC

Cherry Blossoms, Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
(14-140mm at 125mm)

Whenever possible, use a tripod to ensure that your images are sharp, especially if you are using a longer lens, since they can be heavy and difficult to keep steady while shooting. If you are using a tripod, you can use a low ISO and a longer exposure (provided that your subject is not moving) to ensure that your image will have minimal digital noise. The next time you go out with your camera, don’t forget to try and fill the frame with your image, and shoot with a purpose – be deliberate in choosing your camera settings, to achieve the look you envision. Then try photographing the same subject using other settings – you never know, you may prefer the photos taken with the alternate settings!

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