Piece of the Whole


One of the creative techniques I use is to only show a portion of the whole subject. Sometimes when you show the entire subject a photo can come across as too representative, or documentary. Going for a tighter shot can produce a more creatively pleasing image. This concept works with all types of subjects. Showing just a piece of the subject can add a sense of mystery, as well as make a particular element pop out and grab the viewer's attention. I frequently take this approach with flower photography. The composition above pushes your attention into the center, making the stamen the subject and flower petals the backdrop.

What if I had just shot the entire flower? Well it would look something like this:


Keep in mind this is just a test shot, so if was really shooting a whole subject composition, I suppose it would have come out a bit better! But you get the idea. There is a very different reaction to the whole flower vs. the tight shot.

Oh, and one more tip - watch your focusing with close-ups like these. A little shift in the placement of the focus can really help or hurt your image. Take a look at this next photo - same composition as the first image, but with the focus on the back stamen the photo is not a keeper (but does make a great teaching example).