What’s your subject

Author: Gaurav Birla August 29, 2010 No Comments

The very first thing that we will be doing, while photographing on a particular theme is to choose a suitable subject. The choice of subject is the most important factor behind the success of photographic project. There is lot of things you should keep in mind while selecting a suitable subject. 


As the most famous photographers say, when the subject is chosen, the photographer must have intense curiosity and not just a passing visual interest in the theme of the pictures. It is this chaos city that leads to intense examination, reading, talking, and research on the subject. In other words, in order to photograph anything with continuous passion, photographer must have a fascination for the subject which is long-lasting otherwise interest in the subject cannot be sustained for a long time, which will lead to the failure in making any successful project. Photographers’ curiosity, fascination and enthusiasm for the subject can be communicated to others through the pictures he clicks.

Choosing a subject is important also because of the fact that once a subject is chosen, the journey of the photographer towards a personal style starts. Photographers will also discover the joy of visually responding to the world.

rocks-pebbles-lgThe choice of subjects has to come from the world around you, there are objects that you like or dislike or are indifferent to. To get started with the theme, start making a list of all that the possible subjects. Make a list of all those things you are very fascinated about. Make a list of those things also which you have good knowledge about. The list should be long containing almost all the possible subjects that you feel you can photograph.

So now the question is how to choose a subject, what factors to keep in mind and how can you judge whether the choice of the subject is suitable for you or not. For every person the choice of subject will be different because everybody thinks in different manner. It is not that there are certain subjects only which are suitable for photography projects. It’s completely a photographer’s choice what road he wants to take when he starts his journey. There are certain questions that you may ask yourself when you’re deciding on the subject.


Since photography is a visual art, the first question you should ask regarding your subject is, is it visual? There will be certain subjects that you would like to work on but they may be out of this world, something that you cannot photograph. For example everybody would like to take photographs of fairytale creatures to make a project. But it doesn’t work because it is just our imagination and it is not visual. So the most important factor is the subject being visual.

The second thing that you can consider while selecting a subject is the feasibility. Is it practical to photograph the subject you’re planning to? There will be some subjects which are very interesting but may be difficult or impossible to photograph by you. It may be possible for others to use that as a project but not for you. For example taking photographs of all the mountain ranges in the world is not an impossible task but if you don’t have sufficient resources obviously that is something you cannot consider. Be more practical in choice of subjects and make sure that your subject is available to you.


The next factor is the knowledge that you have about the subject. Do you know enough about the subject? There will be some subjects which would be interesting but you are not very well aware that those things. As a photographer if you’re going to capture the essence of the subject in your photographs, you have to have a very good knowledge and understanding of the subject. Photography is also about learning about your subjects while taking photographs or before that or even after that.

The appeal of the subject is another factor. Is the subject you have chosen interesting to others? Everyone has a personal choice and personal likes and dislikes. The subject your chosen may look great to you but may not have any appeal for the others. There is nothing wrong with it as the earlier said everybody has his own interests. But if others are not interested in those subjects then your photographs would have a single audience that would be you yourself. If you find other side interested in your photographs, this feeling motivates you and you come out with better photographs, feel better and gain better experience.


Now these are some of the most important factors which will help you choose the subject. There are many more factors involved other than these. Now we discuss in brief about those things. The photography project that you are going to undertake can also be called a visual essay. The subject has to be very specific, to communicate a meaningful story in the project. So choosing a subject like” Flowers” may not be very specific. Maybe you can change it to “Flowers in urban landscape”. This will make it more specific and will make it easy to convey meaning to you photograph.

There are advantages of choosing a specific subject. If your choice is very clear and the subject is clearly defined, you can easily identify where to shoot so you will take more pictures. If you take more pictures you will develop a better knowledge of the subject. As your knowledge of the subject increases you would want to increase the depth in the meaning of the pictures. So if you’re subject is very clearly defined you will be able to produce very distinctive and different images, which will come out very successful. And as the final word we can say are deep and long lasting respect and love for the subject matter is the way to success in photography.

flowers city

Tags: , , Art of photography

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