Part of the art of photography is visualizing your shot through the camera viewfinder (or LCD panel). When you’re in the field, you tend to scrutinize your subject. After all, you want the subject placed in the frame properly, you want to focus precisely, and more. Unfortunately, this often leads to “tunnel vision.” Your mind subconsciously blacks out the other elements of the frame, especially the corners and background.
Take for example, this image of a tulip I captured in a garden in Williamsburg, Virginia. I was leading a workshop there, and the conditions were perfect for photographing flowers. We all got down low to compose our shots, and doing so can sometimes be awkward. Needless to say, I liked the bend of this tulip, and the dewdrops upon it.
But I didn’t pay attention to the corners of the frame. Notice that white blob in the upper left corner. Yuck. It’s distracting, despite being out of focus. Of course, I could always try to fix the image in post by cropping, cloning, or any other technique that would minimize or disguise the blob. But there’s an even better trick. I was fortunate to notice this spot in my image while I was still set up. I simply moved my tripod a few inches to the left and composed the scene again without the distracting element in it.
The advantages of recomposing are numerous. I save time in post, and I get a full-resolution image (in this case, 36MP) because I didn’t have to crop. Just because you have 36 megapixels doesn’t mean you should throw them away!
For the final image (at top), I processed the RAW file in Lightroom 4 and then ran it through my “Flowers” preset in Color Efex Pro 4, part of the Nik Collection. This preset adds three filters, including soft focus, glamour glow, and a slight vignette. The end effect is that the flower is rendered pleasantly with a soft effect and the background fades away.
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5 thoughts on “Photo Tip: Avoiding Tunnel Vision”
I prefer the original composition with the flower in the more central location. That would come at the expense of more time in post, however. I love the subtle filters. Your point is well-taken. Too many times I have been “photobombed” from not paying close attention.
white blob upper left of tulip. you said you moved the tripod to the left to remove blob. would this have required a move to the right, instead of left?
Depends on the framing. By moving left and shifting right, I removed the blob.
Your final image of the tulip RAW file was processed in Lightroom 4. Any special reason why Capture NX2 was not chosen?
Because I am using Lightroom for all my image processing now.