In this month's blog I want to talk about what I feel is the most important advice that I can give to any aspiring photographer. Many years ago, in my college years, I was instructed by my photography professor to "watch the edges" of my photographs. It turns out that this was the best photographic advice I have ever been given. Another well known nature photographer basically reiterated this same advice to me more recently. Position yourself strategically so as to not allow any intersecting or distracting elements to block your subjects or cut off any important objects on the edges of your images. Being careful with these details is what separates good photographers from great ones.
The image below is a good example of this concept. Notice how none of the flowers below are cut off on the edges of the image. Also, none of the blades of grass cross over any of the flowers in the foreground. I actually bent a few blades of grass out of the way of flowers to makes this image better. Nothing major is cut out of the image on any edge. The image is very balanced and very sharp. The lighting is a beautiful warm sunset light. I spent a long time positioning myself, selecting the correct focal length and exposure, and waiting for the best light to make this an excellent photograph.
You will note that the larger flowers in the foreground at the lower left apply roughly to the Rule-of-Thirds. Rule-of-Thirds is a more advanced idea that I will discuss in a future blog. But, in a nutshell, if you consider the larger flowers in the lower left to be the main subjects then they are positioned approximately one third the way from the bottom and about one third from the left edge. This would be considered one of the ideal locations to position the subject of main interest in your image. Also note that the sky is positioned so that it takes up approximately the top one third of the image. Again the rule of thirds. While this is not always the case using the rule of thirds often helps to make better images.
So take time to frame your image carefully, use the correct exposure and focus, wait for the best light and watch the edges!