Establishing a Focal Point

The single most important compositional tool is to establish a focal point — a main point of interest. A viewer should be able to immediately identify the subject of your photo. If there are too many elements competing for attention, then the focal point is probably not obvious. The eye needs to be drawn to a subject.

One of the biggest mistakes amateur photographers make is not having a clearly defined focal point. Make sure that your pictures don't include too

318 part v|: The part of Tens much insignificant background clutter like furniture, walls, tables with food, and so forth. What you really want to capture are the smiles and surprised expressions of your family and friends.

Here are some tips on establishing a clearly defined focal point:

i Move closer to your subject.

i Include a point of interest in scenic shots.

One sunset pretty much looks like the rest. But throw a fisherman casting his line or a child finishing up the final touches on a sand castle, and your image is elevated to a higher level.

i Include elements in the foreground to add depth and a sense of scale.

It is even better if you place that foreground element off center.

i Use foreground elements to frame your subject. You can use elements like tree branches, windows, archways, and doorways to frame a wide shot and add depth.

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