What do you see

Composition is an art of exclusion.

Exclude all that vies for attention other than the subject.


desert fox

What do you See in this image?

The probably answers are

  1. A mammal sitting on the ground looking at the photographer
  2. Eyes are in focus
  3. Subject is back-lit
  4. There is enough space around the subject
  5. Centrally composed
  6. Blurred Background

There might be a couple more that I missed out but by and large, the biggest take away from this one is that there is nothing that is competing with my subject for attention. 

The whole purpose of asking this question ‘What do you See in the image?’ is to list down all elements of the image that one can see. If nothing competes with your subject, you are good. If nothing takes too much away from the image you are good. For e.g. in the above image, the central composition is a slight issue but the eyes of the fox are so fixating that it was imperative to draw the viewer in right from the word go and the body of the fox forms a good curve to take you into the frame.

Now take a look at the following image

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 9.56.11 PM

  1. A tiger sitting on the ground
  2. enough space in the direction that the tiger is looking at
  3. A tree next to the tiger
  4. another tree to the left of the tiger
  5. lovely light

The 3rd and the 4th point of this image are actually elements in the frame that are taking away the punch from the tiger. They are in focus and attracting a lot of unwanted attention.

Composition is more of an art of exclusion. Exclude all that vies for attention other than the subjects.

For every image you review, do ask yourself this question and hopefully it would help you better your composition skills. 

Here are a few images for you to start asking that question

Young Guns

Do you notice the Tree Trunk calling out for attention ??


Bharatpur 1

Even though there is a lot of clutter, the fact that the birds are white makes the attention stay at them



The Flowers in Background. They work for some and not for others. Do they work for you?

Please feel free to comment and share.

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  1. Manish Mandhyan August 31, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    Nice tip Rahul. I think the next part to this should be “inclusion”. Sometimes including certain elements might give an extra dimension to the image as well.

  2. Rajiv Ramanathan August 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    Simple tip but so important for a good photograph. Most of us forget about this in the “heat of the moment” when we see/observe something in the wild and realise the error once we are back. TFS. Cheers.

  3. Magal Sanjeev September 1, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    Great tips, Guruji! Most of the time, we end up in going bersek without applying the composition parameters. Back home, we will be kicking ourselves for making those mistakes! Thanks much, looking forward for more gyan! 🙂

  4. Aravind V September 1, 2016 at 3:40 am #


    Excellent mate..just keeps getting better and better

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