Subjects and Objects

What you see is what you get…


Subjects and Objects•What you see is what you get Moonbeams Shop

Whatever else you may forget, the one thing you can never forget when taking a photograph is your subject. And you also have to beware of objects.

Go to: The SubjectObjectsCan we help?And one last rule…

The Subject

If you are taking a photograph, you are taking it of someone or something. That is your subject.

To take a really good photograph you need to think about how your subject is positioned in the frame of the picture. Here are a few tips, largley based on studying photos that are sent to us for printing that could so easily have been better with just a little change:


Everybody has had this experience, and even practiced photographers still do it occasionally. You’re concentrating so much on getting teenage cousin Peter to give something passing for a smile that you don’t notice the overflowing waste bin just behind him. It’s only when you have the photograph printed that the bin leaps into view. Our eyes see what we choose to see; the camera sees what’s there.

Experienced photographers try to remember, just before pressing the button, to have a quick check round the frame to make sure there isn’t anything in view that will spoil the photograph. Watch out for things like poles that will appear to be growing out of the subject’s head; or sunlight glinting off a distant window; or an otherwise beautiful landscape spoilt by the discarded beer can on the fence post; or even a person who is nothing to do with the photograph but happens to be staring in your direction when you press the button - eyes looking at you from the background can be very distracting when viewing an otherwise perfect picture.

If your camera can do this (and you know how), sometimes forcing the background to be out of focus can help concentrate the photograph on the subject (and also reduces the impact of inconvenient details). You do this by reducing a setting called the aperture. Check your camera’s manual to see if, and how, you can do that.

Can we help?

While it is sometimes possible to edit photographs to remove inconvenient details{2}, it’s better if they weren’t in the shot in the first place. Similarly we can re-frame a picture, perhaps to bring the subject more into the centre, though only within the contraints discussed in the Photo Proportions page. We’ll try our best for you but, on the whole, it’s better if you can follow the tips on this page for at least most of your photographs.

We don’t normally charge for simple photograph edits. For anything more complicated we may discuss with you a small charge, based on the amount of time it will take us to complete.

And one last rule…

If photography were only about following rules, someone would by now have invented a robot photographer. Photographs can capture the magic of a moment, and to do that you may need to break some or all the rules. So the last tip is this: whatever else you do, be creative!

We hope you find these tips useful. If you have any feedback or suggestions please contact us.

Please note: we take customer confidentiality very seriously. We never share any customer photo with anyone else without the customer’s explicit permission.



{1} But do also remember the cropping issues discussed in our page Photo Proportions.

{2} And we have, on occasions, even removed inconvenient relatives, and once even the Governor of St Helena, but please don’t tell!.

•Photo tips: Photography Tips Index.

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