Finding The Focal Point To Improve Your Photography

Choosing the best focal point for your pictures can either be the easiest part of photography or the most difficult. That one eye-catching subject that you capture through your lens sets the tone and mood of your photo like nothing else can. 

At our convention and visitors bureau, the way I compose a picture tells visitors what I think is most important. For the photo above, I wanted to tell them that one of our largest parks has a covered shelter area for picnics, as well as a beautiful, tree-lined view. Some day we'll get rain here in southern Iowa, and I'll go retake this photo with green grass.

The difference between this water tower photo and the next one is subtle - here I wanted more of the beautiful blue sky. I moved to a spot where the two trails behind it crossed just to the left of the tower.

Immediately moving just a few steps to the left, I had the same tower, the same jet trails, and more trees to frame the bottom of the picture. This way, if I use the photo for a visitor guide or social media, I can add text at the top or the bottom and it can easily be read.

And zooming in, or cropping the photo afterward, sharpens the logo and makes the water tower in the upper right-hand third of the photo. This is a great "rule" of photography to create an eye-catching focal point, but make sure you add some creativity of your own. Rules were made to be messed around with, especially when you're holding a camera.

The results of your creativity will turn a boring tree picture into a composed photo that can showcase your favorite subject and bring a smile to someone's face. What focal point will you choose to focus on today?


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