Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 – All Rights Reserved

This post isn’t about UV filters or screw on filters or gear of any kind. It’s about the filters we use to make photographic decisions. What to include or not include in a photograph… What color background to use… What lens to shoot with… What camera angle…

When you think about it, each photograph is comprised of a series of decisions that filter out one choice over another. Once you have that fact down, it becomes a little less daunting to make the right choice.

Start with entire scene. Now, where do you want the viewer of the image to focus? Where is the story in the picture? What is the strongest visual object in the frame? Start eliminating anything that doesn’t fit in with the primary object of focus, the story or the strongest visual. By filtering out those things that don’t belong in the picture, you immediately approach an image based on stronger compositional elements.

The way most amateurs approach designing a photograph is they start adding things INTO it. The way most professionals approach designing a photograph is they start removing things FROM it.

Try this new way of thinking. Instead of asking what should go into your next picture, ask yourself, what you can filter out.


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