How to Cut Distraction and Clutter from Your Pictures

Keeping it simple is the key to success!


All too often, when a photographer is showing their work to a curious audience, they are accosted with the all-too-typical question of what kind of camera they use. People that do not have a good understanding of how photography works often equates good photography with a good camera. Unfortunately, an expensive camera does not make a professional photographer!
Consequently, a professional photographer can make stunning images with an inexpensive camera once they learn how to cut distraction and clutter from their pictures.

Just as a good chef can make a five-star meal over an open flame just as well as in a stainless steel kitchen, so a good photographer knows how to make and manipulate their image to create what they envision regardless of their equipment. The actual equipment a photographer uses is not half as important as the technique that photographer uses. Give a good photographer a not-so-good camera (or even a smartphone!) and that photographer can still produce images that many amateurs with an expensive DSLR cannot achieve.

When it comes to making memorable images, there is no tool that can be more powerful to the image-maker than knowing how to compose their frame and massage the elements of design to their desire. There are hundreds of different compositional techniques and the more comfortable you become in your skill the more you may find yourself completely forgetting the typical compositional “rules.” But, for the growing artist, there are some very simple and very easy to accomplish compositional techniques that will transform your images from “nice” to “amazing.”

Following are Five Tips to Help Cut Distraction and Clutter

1. The Rules of Thirds.

Unless you are entirely new to visual composition, you probably already know about the rule of thirds, but if you are not familiar with this rule then you need to learn it now! The best-composed photos do not have the subject placed dead center in the frame, which most of us do. The “Rules of Thirds,” involves mentally dividing the frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. You give added emphasis to your subject when you place them on these lines and intersections. You want to create a flow and a visual rhythm in your image, the eye of the observer should be able to freely move around the entire image. One the ways to achieve this result is by proper composition in order to focus thus minimizing distraction and clutter from the composition.

2. Perspective

Ansel Adams once said, “A good photo is knowing where to stand.” Do something different. Do not take walk-by shots or those kinds of shots taken at an angle that you see every day. Try something new… experiment and get down and dirty to get a better perspective shot. The main idea is to investigate normal and radical perspectives.

3. Get closer to your subject

One way to cut distraction and clutter is to get close to your subject. You do not have to take full body shots all the time. Have them move closer to the camera and take the shot a little higher if you want to cover the background. But as much as possible, you want to fill the frame because huge blank space can take the attention away from your subject.

4. Minimize the use of flash

Using flash is an essential part of photography. But for amateurs, using flash on the wrong ambiance can suck the color out of the image and make it look flat or washed out. Shots at night with flash usually show over exposed faces while the background is all black. The night ambiance is never captured. Settings for low light should be slow shutter speed since there is no available light so the shutter needs to be open longer. This means that both subject and camera needs to be still.

5. Simplicity

One of the best tips is to keep it simple! You can almost always improve your digital pictures by zooming in and cutting out all distractions and excess clutter. Also, it is better to take lots of pictures than too few. With digital cameras, unwanted photos can easily be deleted