16. Highlight Your Subject.
Two popular techniques for isolating or focusing viewer attention on a
subject are "framing" and "selective focus."
a. Framing. Framing the subject gives the viewer "tunnel vision." His
eyes automatically go to the subject in the photograph because you have
channeled his vision.
(1) Anything in the area can be used for framing. The standard frame
used in outdoor pictures is the branches and leaves of a tree.
(2) Old as the framing technique is, it still works.
reason for taking photographs is to get people to look at them and feel and
understand your message.
Look for things to frame your subject and focus
the viewer's attention where you want it.
Refer now to figure 1-10 for an example of a picture using the framing
When framing a scene, it is helpful to think about "looking
through" something at the subject you're interested in framing.
tree leaves provide a partial frame around three sides to enclose the
subject. The eye is forced to look at what the photographer intended.
b. Selective Focus.
Let's say you're photographing a formation of
soldiers and you know, because you researched the job, that SSG Jones in the
first rank is going to be designated as "Soldier of the Month." You want a
picture of him in ranks but you want to isolate him from the other people on
either side of him.
(1) Focus on SSG Jones and from your light meter reading, select a
shutter speed that will allow you to open up the lens diaphragm decreasing
(2) Again focus on SSG Jones. This time SSG Jones is in sharp focus
while the foreground and background is fuzzy. All the elements are still in
the picture but you have isolated your subject. Now the eyes of the viewer
will not wander off the key subject in your photograph.
Figure 1-11 shows a selective focus picture. Selective focus isolates the
subject by having the foreground and background out of focus. With a wide
aperture, almost any lens can use this technique. Here a 90mm lens was used
to facilitate the effect.