Oct 18, 2018

As beginners in photography, we tend to shoot everything. While that is a good practice for a beginner, the actual fun begins when we are able to analyze the reasons for choosing a particular subject. The choice of subject depends on several factors ranging from ad-hoc shots to subjects you like to shoot. Professional images are planned well in advance. There is quite a lot of pre-visualization involved in making a professional image. Consistent choice of subjects will help you in creating a photography style of our own. This kind of a unique style will help you in gaining a lot of exposure and appreciation.

Let us take a look at the different ways by which we choose a particular subject to shoot.



1)   Subjects that you love to shoot:

The best way to choose a subject is to choose something that you love to shoot. As beginners, we tend to make a very basic mistake. We run after those commercial genres of photography in order to earn even if we don’t have any interest or experience in that genre. The initially energy fizzles out later due to the lack of passion. Find the subjects that you are passionate about. It can be anything from wildlife to fashion portraits. Once you are in love with something, you stop seeing that thing as work! A lot of practice is required to master any genre of photography and if you are passionate about a specific genre, it makes the journey easier.

For example, if you are in love with wildlife photography, you will be interested in doing it day in and day out. Gradually, you will improve your skills every day. You will get to know the angles to shoot and the behavioural aspect of the creatures. The behavioural aspect of the creatures will help you in deciding the places to shoot. You will be able to pre-visualize the shots well in advance and try to replicate those in the field. Every genre of photography requires specific skills apart from the absolute basics of photography. Wildlife photography requires knowledge about the behaviour of the animals as well as action photography skills. Indoor portraits require the knowledge of artificial lighting. Wedding photography will challenge to you get candid portraits and cover the entire event as a whole. Once you choose your style of photography, I will advise you to stick to that sincerely.

2)   The subject itself: Once you want to shoot something, there should be the following questions in your mind:

i) Is the subject interesting:

A subject that may appear interesting to you may not be interesting to someone else. This judgment lies solely in the hands of the photographer. Observe things that are not very common. People are always looking forward to see new things. The choice of your subject maybe quite common but the way you present the subject must be unique. For example, a normal shot of a sunset may seem quite common to the viewer even if the shot is well taken. What if you can add some different motion to the image? You may also build your sunset image around a perfect silhouette. These are actually adding a different dimension to the image. You can enhance your images by shooting from unique angles that offer uncommon perspectives.

ii) How good the lighting is:

Lighting can make or break your image. When you have chosen a subject, observe the lighting conditions involved. Make sure that there is ample light to play around with. If the lighting is poor and flat, making a good image can get that much more difficult. Be creative with light. For example, during the sunrise you can get great silhouettes. Instead of a normal silhouette you may look to shoot an animal with only the rim light around it. Animals with hairy bodies will give better results. Use of hair or rim lighting in wildlife photography is definitely going to produce great results.

iii)  Is the background complimentary:

This is a question you must ask yourself after every single shot. Unwanted distractions in the background can kill your image. For example, you may have shot a tack sharp portraitbut the background contains some bright patches of light. These patches of light will take away all the attention from the face of the subject. A complimentary background actually enhances the portrait shot. Try to have good bokeh effects and single colour backgrounds.

3) Story telling images:

Composition is what sets photographers apart from one another. The basics of photography are all the same for every photographer. Everyone makes the images using the exposure triangle parameters, metering modes and other basic settings. These settings are available to all. What will actually set you apart is your visualization, composition and perspective. Choose a subject in such a way that it conveys some sort of a story. Story telling images are always much more attractive. For example, instead of shooting a close up portrait of a cook, include the ambience and shoot an action portrait. This will definitely work better than the close up since this is showing some sort of action. The subject looks much more eye catching in this case.

4) Unique subjects and conflicts:

Consider the scenario where there is a horse carriage racing through a busy city road. Although people have seen horse carriages, the conflict it is causing by racing alongside the other vehicles might offer a different view point. Conflicts are of great importance in photography as well as film making. A motion blur image of the horse carriage with the busy city in the backdrop can provide a very interesting perspective. This however, is just an example or maybe a suggestion but the final call will depend on the photographer as per his preferences.


Story telling images and unique perspectives are actually going to enhance your images. The subjects you are choosing to shoot are quite significant but what is way more significant is how you are actually shooting them!