Move out from your Subject – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

Last week I discussed getting close to your subject. Not to confuse you too much, but this week I will discuss zooming out from your subject.

In my tip last week, I mentioned how a better photograph can be made by zooming in and getting closer to your subject. There are times however when you will want to back away as well. If we look at the same image from last week, we can easily see we have a better shot of Leanne and I without the distracting background, but that doesn’t really help tell the story of where we were. The original photograph helps convey that better because we can see the location in the background. Unfortunately though, the image does work the way it is composed. The subject is competing with the background, we don’t know which one should be the focus of attention, there are people in the background that are distracting and the story is lost in all the confusion.

Moving in to create a more dramatic photo

Next, let’s look at another image of us from another trip. The composition of this image allows both the subject and the background to work together to tell the story of where we were. It is important to pay attention to the elements in your photo when you do this though to make sure you are not adding any unwanted extras, such as the people in the background of the above photo. Moving in would have given a nice portrait of us, but would not convey that this was overlooking a large canyon, nor would it really help us to record that part of our trip.

If your digital camera has a zoom feature, using that to zoom out will give a slightly different effect than physically moving away from the subject. In some cases it will be noticeable, in others it may not be, and other times you may not be able to move away from the subject and will have to use the zoom. Unlike the negative effects of digital zoom, cameras do have a digital wide angle so that is not a worry you have to be concerned about.

Next week I talk about film speed in your digital camera.


The digital photography tip of the week is written by the PCIN Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long time photographer and is currently the vice-president of the Niagara Falls Camera Club. You can see more of his photography at his Photo of the Day website.
If you have a tip to send Chris, or a question about digital photography he can address in the newsletter, send it to

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