The Art of Inclusion and Exclusion

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Some said that painting is an art of inclusion. The canvas is blank, is up to the painter to decide what he wants to be included in his picture and painted in accordingly.

Some said that photography is an art of exclusion. The scene is already there in front of you, you frame your shots to decide what to be excluded from your frame and took the shot.

For me, photography is an art of both inclusion and exclusion. It really depends on what message one is trying to convey in his picture and then he or she decides what to be included or excluded from the frame, be it a studio shot or a street shot. For example, for the shot above I would like to capture the traffic light and the people, but just that alone might be a little boring, hence I decided to add a little “drama” into the picture by including movement of vehicles within the frame. If I were to make the picture feel a little calmer, I would have waited until the road is empty (excluding the moving vehicle) before I took the shot.

Of course one can always crop the picture later in post processing to decide what’s to be included or excluded, but try to put a little more effort into thinking through your frame before taking a shot. Take extra care especially around the corners and edges of the frame as we tend to get a little lazy and loosy when we put our focus on the main subject. It’s not every time that you can get away by cropping a picture. If the elements are not there after you took the shot, there’s really no other way to add in new elements other than photoshop it in.

Have fun exploring this interesting and powerful tool for photography. Till then.

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