5 Ways to Strengthen the Message and Story of Your Photographs

5 Ways to Strengthen the Message and Story of Your Photographs

A Guest Post by Sergey Sus/

Photographers decide what is in the frame and what is not. We cant always control every single item the frame. We can however, control of position relative to the subject and when we press the shutter button. Here are 5 ways to to improve our photographs.

Obvious Subject

Ways 1

Our brains analyze what the eye sees instantly. The subject and story of a photograph must be identified quickly by the viewer. If the viewer cant figure out what the subject is…. all interest is lost.


Our depth perception of a photograph creates a 3D effect. The brighter objects appear nearer, darker objects recede further back. If the subject is ‘near’ to the viewer it has to be brighter then the rest of the frame. Dodging in post processing accentuates the subject while burning recedes.


Ways 2

Human brain focuses on sharp items in a photograph next. Photos with shallow depth of field are so pleasing to our eyes – we dont need to search for a subject as its the only sharpest part of the photo.


The largest item in a photo – and our eyes go straight to it as we begin to ‘digest’ the photo. It is possible to have the subject as the smallest item in the picture, what then? Make it the sharpest and brightest!


Ways 3

The 3 primary colors Red, Green and Blue – the colors which are noticed first. When photographing people outside in a park – get as little of the 3 primary colors in the frame. Sounds easy? Well, when in a park green and blue are unavoidable. If those colors are minimized and then desaturated in post the subject will stand out more in the final photograph.

Sergey Sus is a Los Angeles based photographer telling telling real stories, individual, professional and family. Problem solver, artist and teacher. His work can be found on http://www.sergeys.us/.

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Some Older Comments

  • Evonne Dale July 25, 2013 01:32 am

    Great article! One small suggested correction - the primary colours are red, blue & yellow :)

  • stacie July 23, 2013 11:53 am

    great advice! loved the last part on the 3 primary colors especially - never thought of that!

  • Jim July 22, 2013 10:40 pm

    I've never tried dodging and burning in post processing. I will try it on a couple of my shots now. Thanks for the advice

  • Mark July 22, 2013 04:24 am

    RGB? These are the primary colors of light.
    Red, Yellow, Blue are the primary colors of pigments, hence the printers CMYK, (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) These two facts are the primary reason it is difficult to bring your photo vision from the screen to a print, the way we perceive colour and reproduce it. Cheers.

  • Ian July 21, 2013 06:21 pm

    Interesting, as I had photos that I increased the green in the photo to emphasize the entire photo. I thought the trees in the background were under saturated. (Even with f2 bokeh)

  • Jayant July 20, 2013 03:27 pm

    This is very informative practice to follow up for creatiating a great story picture. I have taken some of the pictures with your suggestions.I also found a site which showcases the story behind a picture. check this link: http://picworks.in/invitation-picture-story/

  • Khusru July 19, 2013 01:39 pm

    Simple, brief but practical & informative, thanks

  • ArturoMM July 19, 2013 05:54 am

    I very much liked your first photo and the the content of your article.

    Thank you Sergey, keep doing this meaningfull writings.

  • Kendra July 19, 2013 03:57 am

    Yes, I noticed that too Judy! Green, violet, and orange are SECONDARY colors.... And so on and so forth... Color wheel anyone? ;-) other than that... Good article, thanks for posting!

  • Judy Gray July 19, 2013 03:48 am

    The three primary colors are red, blue and YELLOW. But then, most photogrphers know this.

  • ScottC July 13, 2013 06:44 am

    All true! Great article, love the point about sharpness.


  • Brian Fuller July 13, 2013 02:45 am

    Great article and I love that first photo.
    Several of these really define why good lenses are so important. Sharpness and a shallow depth of field.

    I've incorporated these tips in most of my photos. Wish I had time to really go after this hobby, but young kids significantly reduce my free time. They are often the objects of my lens though.


  • Mridula July 12, 2013 05:25 pm

    In spite of knowing it how many times I have ignored the obvious subject bit! Thanks for the tips.