The Importance of Subject Isolation in Photography


Subject isolation is when you put all of the focus on the image to your subject. It's a very useful technique that comes in handy for putting more emphasis on the subject and for visual storytelling, honing the one's composition skills. Here, we outline the importance of subject isolation and how it helps one to become a better photographer.

Credits: gocchin, stacy_mcpommes & danika

Eyes on What Matters

The main reason this technique is used is to draw the eye into the subject or detail that matters. It immensely improves photographic composition as it removes the clutter. Unimportant details are taken out of focus and are simplified to specks of light, creating a plain yet textured background. This is commonly used by portrait photographers and macro photographers so that the attention directly goes to the subject.

Credits: jameskalman, ccwu, sikakuipanda, andrejrusskovskij & shawnlin

Amplified Ambience

Another feat of this technique is how it improves the quality of photographs. Most of the time, photographers alienate a subject from its surroundings through a narrow depth of field, deliberately blurring the background. Apart from making the subject stand out, this also creates a soft, diffused background. The whole negative space around the subject dictates the mood and atmosphere of the whole image, creating subtle beauty among the mundane in life. A focused foreground and a blended background are all that takes to make painterly photographs.

Credits: sandravo, pearlgirl77 & gocchin

A Challenge for Composition Skills

There are many techniques to isolating your subject and we can dare say all of them contribute to the improvement of one's composition and visualization skills. Subject isolation isn't just about a matter of space or clutter. You can definitely isolate something just through the use of contrasting colors. You can isolate an object through motion too by creating a motion blur. Do note that it will be tricky to pull off since another goal in this technique is to keep the subject in focus. However, this can be easily achieved with special art lenses such as the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens and the Petzval 85 Art Lens.

Credits: shawnlin, bjyye, klive0420 & gocchin

To wrap it up, subject isolation teaches the fundamentals of composing images, involving both basic and intermediate composition skills. It can be achieved in several ways, from mere visualization, camera settings, accessories, to specialized lenses. Try it all out, experiment with every method you can and perhaps you'll discover a unique way of drawing attention to your subject.

The Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII is created with discerning photographers and filmmakers in mind. This versatile 55mm art lens brings the unique look of Joseph Petzval’s original lens to full frame mirrorless cameras. This art lens is designed to allow full creative flexibility, with its 7 levels of Bokeh Control and Dual Aperture system. Its optics are optimized to retain the signature swirly bokeh without compromising image sharpness where it counts. It is an indispensable addition to your creative arsenal. Pre-order yours now in our online store.

written by cielsan on 2019-05-30


  1. yerzmyey
    yerzmyey ·

    Most interesting.

  2. kd187223
    kd187223 ·

    all of the photos look very good on this website. ;)

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