Emphasis in Photography

In photography, putting emphasis on a topic involves directing attention and focus to that subject. A messy and unstructured snapshot can make it difficult to see the topic of the photograph. However, there are certain compositional methods in photography that can assist you in bringing attention to the topic of any shot.

You’ll get a better understanding of concentration in photography after reading this article. And we have the best advice and strategies to help you become an expert in it.

What Is Emphasis in Photography?

When we emphasize anything, we are calling attention to it and drawing attention away from everything else that is surrounding it. We can highlight a specific word in a sentence, which will lend our communication a more nuanced interpretation. And what we mean can shift where the emphasis is placed depending on the context.

When it comes to photography, the same principle applies. The use of emphasis in photography can bring certain subjects or objects within a picture to the forefront. Our topic is brought to the forefront, highlighting its significance within the context of the scenario and attracting the attention of the audience.

The use of emphasis in photography enables the creation of photographs that depict narratives. Any snapshot, given the right accent and composition, has the potential to become a scene with a story. Your subject turns into the focus point, distinguishing itself from everything else that is going on around it.

We may utilize some amazing picture composition techniques to accentuate our subjects. Contrast, depth of field, and negative space are some of the compositional elements that we’ll go over in more depth below.

When it comes to photography, using emphasis is a great way to visually express yourself. Harnessing these skills offers you control over your image. You have the ability to guide the attention of the audience and keep it focused where you want it to be. Within the realm of the visual arts, putting attention where it belongs helps convey stories.

10 Tips to Emphasize Your Subject in Photography

These are the most effective approaches to the photographic composition for drawing attention to the subjects you wish to highlight. Your knowledge of photography composition will increase as a result of them, allowing you to become an emphasis expert in photography. And whether you like to work with film or digital photography, any of these options will serve you very well.

1. Think in Thirds

One of the most fundamental principles that govern composition in photography is known as the rule of thirds. It provides you with a structure that you may use to structure your image, enabling you to put attention to the topic of your photograph.

In order to use the rule of thirds, you will need to divide the frame you are working with into nine rectangles of the same size. This is accomplished by drawing two lines, one vertical and one horizontal, with equal distances between them. It establishes a grid within the confines of the frame. This grid will provide you with all the rules you need to create a powerful composition.

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The points of interest for you are where the lines intersect with one another. These are the most effective areas to insert your subjects in order to give them more prominence. By positioning your subject in accordance with the lines as a guide, you will have a robust structure for your composition.

In both landscape and portrait photography, the rule of thirds is a useful compositional tool. In addition, the majority of modern digital cameras come equipped with a rule of thirds feature that superimposes a grid across the viewfinder. To begin putting the focus on your subjects, this is a fantastic place to start.

2. Think About Colors

Within the realm of photography, color theory is a powerful tool for composition. In addition, when it comes to photography, finding the correct color combinations to use might help you add attention.

When you want to create a peaceful environment in which the colors flow into one another naturally, monochromatic and similar color schemes are excellent choices. However, if you want to use color to emphasize anything, you should search for hues that are complementary to one another.

Purple and yellow, for example, or red and green, sit on opposite sides of the color wheel and are considered complementary hues. When used together, they create an appealing aesthetic experience. On the other hand, there is no way that they could be much more dissimilar to one another, which indicates that they are distinct from one another. It is the ideal tool for bringing attention to specific elements in your photographs.

Visual focus can also be achieved by the utilization of a triadic color scheme. It makes use of three colors, all of which are distributed uniformly over the wheel. Because of the way, the colors are evenly spaced out on the color wheel, each color can be easily distinguished from the others.

3. Use Strong Contrast To Highlight Your Subject

When you have two different locations that are significantly lit differently from one another, you have contrast. There will be almost no light in the region that is designated to be dark. The other one has a lot of light coming in from either natural or artificial sources. When these two very distinct lighting scenarios are placed next to one another, the resulting image has a lot of contrast.

You can establish attention in your photograph by positioning your subject within a highly lit area that is bordered by a dark background. Any component that is located in the light will be easily distinguishable from the surrounding darkness. Both street photography and portrait photography benefit from their use.

In black-and-white photography, the contrast between the light is an extremely useful visual tool. Creating a dynamic emphasis like this one requires having your subject lighted against a frame that is solid black. It almost immediately captures the attention of the viewer.

4. Isolate Your Subject Through Negative Space

A place that is devoid of any kind of detail is known as a “negative space.” It’s a little negative space in your picture that you can use to draw attention to whatever you choose. In minimalist photography, the composition places a significant emphasis on the use of negative space.

Your photograph will look cleaner as a result of the use of negative space. When there are enormous sections in a picture that contain relatively little detail, there is nothing to distract the viewer’s attention from the main subject of the picture. Because of the composition’s minimalist nature, there are no other elements that could compete for attention.

The color white may not necessarily represent empty space. It might be a uniformly colored block, or it might be a surface with very little texture. You may utilize the sky on a day when there is no cloud cover, or you could use the still surface of a body of water. You want your audience to focus on the primary topic at hand, which is why you’ve chosen to provide so few details.

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5. Create a Bokeh Effect with a Shallow Depth of Field

The depth of field is a term used to describe the proportion of an image that is sharply focused. If your camera has a large depth of field, the areas in front of and behind the subject of your photograph will also be in focus. Landscape photography typically calls for a significant amount of depth of field.

When your depth of field is shallow, the surrounding detail—both in front of and behind your subject—will be blurry. The technique of using bokeh, in which the background is intentionally blurred to draw attention to the subject of the photograph, is an excellent method for doing so.

When you use a bokeh effect, your subject will be the only item that is sharply focused. The rest of the elements in the photo will be blurred and have a smooth appearance. Because of this image’s selective focus, the subject of the photograph stands out as the primary focal point of the picture. It’s a wonderful way to enhance your topic in portrait photography.

6. Use Leading Lines to Direct the Eye

Keep an eye out for lines in your surroundings. They can be either straight or curved in appearance. In addition, the lines may be arranged in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal configuration. The goal is to employ these lines to guide the attention of the spectator to the primary subject of your composition.

When it comes to composition, leading lines are a wonderful technique for bringing attention to your subject. The lines, whether they come from train tracks or a fence on the side of the road, should direct the viewer’s attention to the component of the scene that you wish to highlight. The lines produce a course for our eyes to follow as they go over the image.

When a subject is far away or doesn’t stand out on its own, leading lines might help bring it to the reader’s attention. In addition, they might make your subject stand out in a picture that has a lot going on.

7. Find a Frame Within Your Frame

You can frame your subject using natural frames that are already present in your surroundings. A window, a fissure in a wall, or an opening in some vegetation could serve as the picture frame. The structure, regardless of what it is constructed of, will keep the viewer’s attention on the issue you want them to focus on.

You need to locate a vantage point that places the subject of your photograph in the middle of the frame. When your topic is placed within this natural frame, all of the other components will take a secondary role. You may also use a shallow depth of field so that the natural frame appears blurry in order to lend further emphasis to the shot.

8. Look For Something Different

In photography, putting your subject in contrast with other elements that are unlike is another strategy for drawing attention to it. Things that aren’t the same can refer to items that are in no way comparable to one another, such as a canine and a stringed instrument. Or, it may be two items that have a subtle distinction between them, such as a flower that is a different shade than the others in its vicinity.

Your primary subject can be surrounded by other things, but each of those things needs to have its own identity. It’s possible that among all those red tomatoes, there’s actually a green one hiding in there somewhere. Another possibility is that there is a lone white sheep among the other black sheep. Your subject is brought into focus, helping it stand out from the throng as a result of the juxtaposition.

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9. Look for Textured Surfaces to Add Weight to Your Subject

Rough textures are more visually weighty and draw more attention than surfaces with softer or smoother textures. And contrasting the hard texture of your subject with softness might help define it as the image’s main point.

You can create a jagged texture with your camera if you can’t discover something with a jagged texture adjacent to something smooth. Using a shallow depth of field can soften the focus of all the visual components around your subject. Your subject is brought into focus by the contrast between the grainy texture and the blurry background, known as bokeh.

10. Use a Tight Composition for Personal Emphasis

Choose an image that has been cropped very closely if you want to get rid of any distracting elements. This composition method is powerful in portrait photography. Additionally, it is effective with both human and animal patients.

You make the eyes of the person or animal the subject of your photograph rather than the person or animal itself. The eyes will serve as the primary focus of the picture you take. This results in a shot that is both intimate and moving. And the eyes will keep the viewer’s attention fixed on them. The iris will also contribute a dash of color, which will serve to further emphasize the point.


Putting your subject in the spotlight is one of the primary goals of photography. In order to keep the viewer’s attention, the subject of the photograph should be very easily identifiable within it.

Utilizing the photography composition strategies discussed here will assist you in drawing attention to the topic of your shot. You can also use them for street photography and photojournalism in addition to landscape and portrait photography.

Learning how to use focus in photography provides you with greater control over the photos you create. Make use of these methods to create compelling imagery and thrilling narratives.


How can I emphasize a specific object in a crowded scene?

To emphasize a specific object in a crowded scene, you can use techniques like selective focus, framing, or color contrast. By isolating the object or using visual elements to direct attention towards it, you can make it stand out.

What is the role of color in emphasizing the subject?

Color can be used to create visual impact and draw attention to the subject. Vibrant or contrasting colors can make the subject pop, while a monochromatic or desaturated background can enhance its prominence.

Is post-processing necessary for emphasizing the subject?

Post-processing can enhance the emphasis on the subject by adjusting exposure, contrast, colors, and removing distractions. However, emphasis can also be achieved in-camera through composition and lighting techniques.

Can I use emphasis techniques in smartphone photography?

Absolutely! Many emphasis techniques can be applied to smartphone photography. You can utilize composition principles, lighting techniques, and various editing apps to emphasize your subject effectively.

How can I develop my own style of emphasizing subjects in photography?

Developing your own style takes time and practice. Experiment with different techniques, explore different subjects, and pay attention to what appeals to you visually. Over time, you’ll develop a unique approach to emphasizing subjects that aligns with your artistic vision.

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