At What Point Does the Subject Make or Break an Image?

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife & Nature Photography

Nikon D700, 175mm, 1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 1600

Sabi Sands, South Africa

At what point does the subject make or break an image?

You see, on all our photography courses we always discuss the fact that the camera only ‘sees’ and shoots in two dimensions.  As the photographer it’s up to you to play with variables such as aperture and distance from subject in order to create depth in the frame and make your subject pop.

In the above scene the main subject has been captured sharp and in focus, but the second animal was just too close for it to be thrown out of focus enough to disconnect it from the main subject.

Yes… it looks like the one leopard is coming out of the other one’s butt.

I still like this image because I was there, I shot it and I have great memories of this morning but now I find myself asking this…

If I were to replace the two Leopards with, let’s say, two Impalas… would I still like the shot?

Yeah, I guess it would but not as much as this one.

To answer my first question – yes, I do think that, all things being equal, the subject can make or break an image.  This shot works because of the content; the leopards, whereas the same frame with different subjects might not have been as striking.

That being said light, composition and that photographic x-factor (whatever it is) will always be the most important things to look for.

Not just leopards.

What do you think?

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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Comments 0

  1. Terry in Indiana

    Seeing 2 leaping leopards pretty much beats any kind of well-planned-out composition!!! Wow…what a sighting! If you really don’t like it, you could always photoshop the second leopard out, but I think the two of them in action makes the photo! Only a handful of people on the planet have ever seen such a scene…be thankful to be in that handful and have a photo to prove it! 🙂

  2. Myer Bornstein

    I agree I like the photo. I just took a photo of two red-breasted mergansers, A female on the rock looking behind her at a male red-breasted merganser jumping up from the water behind her. I liked it because of all the water action that I caught But would have like the male to jump up in front the female

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