Bottom Avoid clutter and opt for a more subtle background like water or sky Your subjectsand audiencewill thank you

In other words, don't become so engrossed in your subject that you don't notice the telephone wires that seem to run through her skull. Train your eye to examine the subject first, and then survey the surrounding scene.

Problems to avoid in your composition's background include:

• All forms of poles. Telephone poles, fence posts, street signs, and malnourished trees can creep into your photos and ruin them.

• Linear patterns. Avoid busy background elements, such as bricks, paneling, fences, and zebra skins.

• Incomplete, cut-off objects. When people see a part of something in your picturea tractor grille, a few ladder rungs, a camel's rear endthey can't help but wonder what the rest of it looks like, instead of focusing on your subject.

Get in the habit of scanning all four corners of your frame before clicking the shutter. That way, you'll catch those telephone poles and street signs that you wouldn't normally see until it's too late. Look for backgrounds that have subtle tones, soft edges, and nondescript elements. Moving your subject forward, away from the background, can help soften the backdrop even more.

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