Masking Cluttered Backgrounds
Good images are often weakened by busy or distracting backgrounds. You can eliminate them by switching to a long lens (85mm or longer) and shooting with a large aperture (f/1.4 to f/4). The closer you get to your subject, the more out of focus your background will be.
Many familiar objects are still discernible when out of focus. A distracting cityscape in the background of a picture will usually remain a cityscape in the viewer's perception unless you use a very long lens (150mm or more), use a very wide aperture (f/1.4 or f/2), or get very close to the subject so you can take a tight head-and-shoulders shot. Switching to black-and-white will help disguise possible distractions, such as the obvious colors of taillights.
Digital photographers can employ the same approach and also have many helpful software tools such as blur and cloning tools that can help them mask out distracting background detail.
FIGURE 13-3 The main object in this image is the dramatic figure of the dragon whirling in circles on the midway, not the background clutter that would have distracted from it.
Look through your photographs to see if you have captured repetition and texture. Have you (on purpose or accidentally) used them as compositional elements? Do they strengthen the photo or distract? Are they the theme of the photo or the background? Texture and repetition can enliven dull photos and hold the viewer's interest if shot correctly.