How to Create Amazing Images ~ Selecting A Subject

Many times I get asked by the people that view my work, how do you create such amazing pictures?  I certainly believe there is an attribute of God given talent that helps, but there are also certain characteristics anyone can learn to improve their photography.

I decided to create a three part series called “How To Create Amazing Images” to cover the main topics that will help you create great images.

The topics for the three part series are:

This is part 1 of the series and will show you how to select the right subject that makes for an amazing image.

Basic Art Concepts

This topic is in reality a basic art concept so if you went to college and you had to go to basic art class for some reason some of this might sound familiar.  Or maybe it’s time you might consider taking a college course on basic art.  That being said I think we can cover some of the main characteristics of what makes a great subject.

Two Categories of Pictures

First of all you need to decide if your image is going to be focusing in on one little thing like a flower or even a person or are you trying to capture a huge scene like a landscape or amazing work of architecture?  In my opinion those are the two basic categories of the vast majority of photography.  So it doesn’t really matter if you’re doing flowers or people or city scenes or whatever,  the final result still falls into those two basic categories let’s call them single subject close-ups and landscapes.


Single Subject Close-up Photography

Let’s start with a single subject close-up type picture. It does not matter if this is a person or a flower there are still several basic rules.

How to Create Amazing Images ~ Selecting A Subject

 Example image: Interesting (Beautiful, Emotional, Inspiring and Passion), Eliminated distractions, and Close

Make Sure Your Subject is Interesting

Of course this topic is a bit subjective. Something might be interesting to you and not interesting to others. That’s why I’m I strongly encourage people to be posting their images publicly so you actually get feedback from people so you start to get an idea of what is interesting to people. But as you have guessed, there are some rules of thumb for what makes something interesting.

Rules for an interesting subject:

  • Beautiful
  • Unusual
  • Repetitive
  • Symmetrical
  • Balanced
  • Controversial
  • Gritty
  • Inspiring
  • Fill you with passion

Eliminate Distractions

Now that you’ve selected a subject this is one of the most important concepts that many beginning photographers struggle with.  To vastly improve your photography you must eliminate distractions in the image.  For example if you’re taking a picture of a person and in the background there’s a tree sticking out of their head that’s a huge distraction and people won’t be able to look at the person.  The way to fix that is to simply move your angle or move the person a little bit.  So as you’re setting up the shot you must take a look at the subject and the background so that you are aware of distractions and you do whatever it takes to eliminate those distractions.

We will talk about ways to eliminate distractions in future tips and tricks posts.

Closer, No Closer, No Closer

This is another simple idea to consider that will vastly improve your photography.  When you get closer and closer and closer to you subject you automatically eliminate other distractions in the image and you force your viewer to focus on your main subject.  Just play around with this simple concept of bed and you will quickly realize how much it improves your photography.


How to Create Amazing Images ~ Selecting A Subject

Example image: Minneapolis Skyline, Entire Scene is in focus, Subject is on the bottom third of image, Interesting Lighting

In the world of landscape photography, the rules are a little different and you may have to force yourself to think a little differently.

Focus on Entire Scene

In a landscape type image the entire scene is your subject as opposed to just one single item, so that will dramatically change the way you think about the image.

The first idea to consider when you are thinking of producing a landscape image is that you want everything in focus.  You can read more about that in our previous article discussing setting your f stop using aperture priority.  Keep in mind that all rules are meant to be broken so once you understand the rule and know how to control that rule you can indeed create a landscape image or only part of it is in focus.  That is a much more advanced concept but it is well worth considering.

Rule of thirds

Secondly we consider the rule of thirds when we are shooting landscape photography. You will be hearing much more about the rule of thirds in future posts but it is a basic art concept that is used in all the photography also. The basic concept of the rule of thirds is that you don’t want your subject right in the middle of the picture you want to break it up into thirds because simply it makes the image more interesting.  So in our landscape type example your horizon would not be smack dab in the middle of your image. Your horizon might be on the top third or might be on the bottom third. Just play around with it move it around and experiment to see what gives the most pleasing results.

Interesting Lighting

Finally in the landscape you must be considering the lighting. Your lighting has to be interesting. In reality 90% of photography is all about lighting.  We often call photographers light painters.  You need to really starting paying attention to light and how it affects an image.  Of course that is true for all types of photography but I think it may be especially true for landscape photography. That’s why the vast majority of my images are taken in the morning or the evening, it is so much easier to capture interesting light at those times of the day. That’s not to say it’s impossible to capture interesting lights during the day but you have to work harder at it.


By implementing these relatively simple rules you can rocket your photography to the next level.  Remember first consider your type of subject, single subject close up or landscape. Then implement the particular rules for either type and bam, magic!!

If you have more questions on this topic or any other topic do not hesitate to ask.  Post your comments and questions here or contact me directly via email or on any other social media network.

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Until next time, get out and capture the adventure!!


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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website