Get clear, know your preferences, and experiment with simplicity.
Try changing your position - knowing my subject and shifting left a bit created a thin highlight that separated the leaves from the background and softened the image, aligning with my style and intentions. Minor changes in your position can help highlight your subject.
Try getting closer vs. zooming - knowing my subject and my preference for soft, gentle images, zooming in is more aligned with my style and intentions. The spots of light and extra background shown when getting closer still feels too busy for me. Regardless of the camera (DSLR or phone), zooming should cause the background to appear closer than it is in real life.
Try blurring the background - knowing my subject was this group of leaves and not the woods themselves, the image with the blurred background is more aligned with my intention. There are many options for blurring the background of your photo, but it will require experimenting with the technology you use. To blur the background here, I used a wide aperture on my DSLR.
Once you're clear about your subject and are ready to use your camera to tell more complex stories, intentional camera blur is a great way to experiment with using your technology to tell your viewer more about your subject. For a simple, well-structured tutorial on shutter speed, camera gear, and intentional blur, please check out "10 Great Tips to Capture Unique Motion Blur Photos," a beautifully composed photo blog by Anisha Singh at Pixpa by clicking here.
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When you get clear about your subject, know your style preference, and get familiar with your technology, you can be more intentional about making images that are simply beautiful.
Which method of simplifying do you prefer?