man standing on the edge of the pier over lake background Photo by Adib Harith Fadzilah on Unsplash

Emphasized an Image: 12 Proven Ways for Emphasis Photography in Seconds

November 30, 2022

Emphasizing an image is one of the most important aspects of photography. You must be asking yourself, “what is emphasis in photography? And what are some ways to emphasize photography?”

Worry not. In this article, we shall discuss in detail what is emphasis in photography and explore some of the proven ways of doing so.

What Does Emphasized an Image Mean in Photography

Emphasizing an image in photography is simply giving special attention to a particular area or element in the frame to make it stand out from the rest.

How you emphasize your subject can make all the difference in the impact of your photo. It can either make the photo more powerful or weaken it.

Proven Ways for Emphasis Photography

You can create an emphasis picture by using several different techniques. While there are many ways to achieve this, not all methods are created equal. Some methods are more effective than others, and some are better suited for certain types of photos.

The following are some of the most effective methods for emphasizing your subject in your photos:

1. Stand Far From Your Subject

lighthouse in the edge of beach

Photo by Markéta Marcellová on Unsplash

While this may not seem like a good idea at first, standing just a few feet further from your subject will give your photo a more natural look while still providing enough details.

For example, if you are photographing a lighthouse with a beautiful landscape in the background, standing a bit further will give your photo a better sense of the scale while still providing a detailed image of the lighthouse.

Doing so can capture the perfect emphasis picture you desire, showing the lighthouse and landscape in full glory.

2. Use a Small Aperture 

a woman holding a strawberry and putting near the camera

Photo by chris panas on Unsplash

A small aperture will help you control the depth of field in your photo. This means that you can choose to make your subject stand out by making the background blurry. This is perfect for photos where your subject is in the foreground and you want the background to be a mere complement to the photo.

It directs the eye of the viewer to the subject of the photo and makes the emphasis picture more aesthetically pleasing.

3. Move Closer to Your Subject

close shot photo of cat looking camera

Photo by Maira Souza on Unsplash

You can fill the frame with your subject by standing close to them. This is perfect for close-up shots where you want to show your subject's details.

It also helps to make your subject the only thing in focus, making the photo more striking. Ensure that you use your feet to zoom in instead of using the zoom function on your camera, as this will result in a loss of quality and details.

4. Implement the Rule of Thirds

flower on crack in the wood floor

Photo by Arnold Leow on Unsplash

This is a basic composition rule that helps you place your subject off-center, which can make your photos more visually attractive.

You then place your subjects at the intersection of these lines for a more balanced and visually interesting composition.

Unlike before, today, many cameras have a rule of thirds grid that you can turn on in the viewfinder to help you with this, which you can use when taking landscape or portrait photos.

5. Avoid Busy Backgrounds well-dressed gorgeous woman posing for photoshoot

Kate Abstract texture beige a little green color Maternity/family photo Backdrop

Placing your subjects in a plain background is one great way of emphasizing them in your photos. This is because it will make them stand out more and be the main focus of the photo. Try to avoid busy backgrounds or patterns, as they can be distracting and take away from the overall impact of the photo.

You can also change the angle of the shot so that the background is in a way that ensures that the subject is the main focus and that the background is simple.

6. Make Use of Negative Space

man standing on the pier edge over lake

Photo by Adib Harith Fadzilah on Unsplash 

Negative space is the area around your subject that does not include any other photo element. It is the "empty" space.

Using negative space, you can create a photo where the viewer's attention is immediately drawn to your subject. This is because the human eye is naturally drawn to the brightest, most colorful part of a photo, which is usually the subject.

However, by surrounding your subject with negative space, you can create a photo where the subject is the only thing that stands out. This is a great way to emphasize your subject and ensure the viewer's attention is focused on it.

In minimalist photography, negative space is everything. The subject is often placed in the center of the frame, with nothing else in the photo to distract from it. This creates a photo about the subject, and the viewer's attention is immediately drawn to it.

7. Apply the Color Theory

blue orange with blue background

Photo by davisuko on Unsplash 

Color theory is one of the most effective methods for emphasizing your subject in your photos. By understanding the different colors and how they interact, you can create emphasis pictures that are more aesthetically pleasing.

Use complementary colors such as red and purple or yellow and green to make your subject pop. In the color wheel, these colors are opposite and create a more striking contrast when used together, making your subject stand out.

You can also use monochromatic colors, which are different shades of the same color. This can be effective in creating a more cohesive look.

Besides monochromatic and complementary colors, you can also use triadic color schemes. This is where you choose three evenly spaced colors on the color wheel. It creates a more harmonious look and makes your subject stand out.

8. Highlight Your Subject Using Contrast

little girl taking photo by resting her chin on hands

 Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

With light, you can create contrast in your photo to make your subject pop. Lighten your subject while darkening the background, or vice versa. You can also lighten the subject with artificial light while the background is naturally lit.

Backlighting in portrait and street photography is a great way to create separation from the background and emphasize your subject. Just imagine how flat and boring a person's photo would look if photographed in front of a white wall with flat, even lighting.

By backlighting them, you can create a beautiful rim light that creates separation and emphasizes the person as the photo's subject.

In black-and-white photography, contrast is everything. Have your subject stand before a solid black frame and illuminate them with a single light source to create a beautiful, striking contrast. This helps capture the viewer's attention and emphasize your subject.

9. Create Leading Lines

man walking on the extending road

Photo by Julie Kwak on Unsplash

Leading lines are a great way to naturally draw the viewer's eye toward your subject. These are any lines in the frame that point toward your subject. This could be a road leading up to a mountain, a set of stairs leading up to a door, or even a person's outstretched arm pointing toward something in the distance.

Using leading lines, you can naturally lead the viewer's eye to your subject and emphasize it within the frame. No matter the shape or form of the leading lines, they will always help draw the viewer's attention to your subject.

Whether straight or curved, leading lines are a powerful tool that should not be overlooked. This makes it possible for leading lines to be used in any photo, from landscapes to portraits. Just ensure that the lines are pointing toward your subject, and you'll be able to create a striking photo that emphasizes your chosen subject.

10. Use Your Frame Within the Frame

forest plants through the round stone door

 Photo by Vitor Vilas Boas on Unsplash

You can use elements within the scene to frame your subject and create a more dynamic photo. This could be anything from using a doorway to frame a person walking through it to using a tree branch to frame a bird in flight.

By doing this, you create a more visually interesting photo and also help emphasize your subject by making it the center of attention. It would help if you shoot from a vantage point that allows you to see the frame within the frame, so take care when choosing your composition and ensure that your subject is well-centered.

11. Utilize Complementary Textures

pear on rose red cloth

Photo by Sirikorn Chaiwut on Unsplash

Including complementary textures in your photo can help draw the viewer's eye to your subject. If your subject has smooth skin, look for a textured background that will contrast nicely.

You can emphasize a subject with fur or feathers by placing them against a smooth, solid background. The possibilities are endless, but by thinking about the textures in your scene, you can help create a more interesting and visually pleasing photo.

12. Look Out for Something Unique

a red tulip among white ones

 Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash

When you're out shooting, always be on the lookout for something unique and different that you can use to emphasize your subject. It could be a particular color, texture, pattern, or light. Find a vantage point that will enable you to shoot your subject in a way that makes them stand out from their surroundings.

Pay attention to the background and see if there's anything you can use to your advantage to make your subject pop. For example, in a field of red flowers, a single white flower in the foreground would be emphasized and stand out from the rest.


Emphasizing an image is a great way to add visual interest and impact to a photograph. Knowing the proven ways for emphasis in photography, you can now add emphasis to your photos in seconds.

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