Improve composition by isolating your subject

By |2014-09-08T20:56:05+00:00Sep 8th, 2014|

One of the most beautiful sunsets that I’ve ever seen was at Main Beach in Byron Bay, Northern New South Wales, Australia. I’ve been to Australia three times (twice this year) and Byron Bay seems to be one of the best representations of Australia’s eastern coast. I had such a wonderful time roaming around with my fellow global photographers on our TopDeck Travel tour and I thought it’d be a good time to relive some of those memories.

While going through my archives from that evening at Main Beach, I came across this quick grab that I got of a surfer calling it quits for the day. It goes without saying that he was my primary focal point and I wanted to make sure that I clearly conveyed that. To improve this composition, I opened the image in Photoshop and cloned away the 15-or-so beach-goers who were lounging in the sand because they were taking the attention away from the surfer. Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone in the water, which made things easier.

I took the photo with my Sony A7 and the Canon 70-200 f/4 that I borrowed from Nicole to save on weight and bulk for this trip. For stylization, I applied a custom preset that I built in Analog Efex Pro 2, part of the Nik Collection by Google. To really drive the point home, I applied the Bokeh filter within the app to simulate a shallow depth of field covering the surfer at an angle.


  1. Viktor September 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Brian, what adapter are you using in order to use Canon lens on Sony A7?

    • Brian Matiash September 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

      I use the Metabones III adapter for Canon EF to Sony E-mount pairings.

  2. Gary Lum (@garydlum) September 9, 2014 at 12:39 am - Reply

    Great that you have visited Australia so often. Byron is also the most easterly point on the mainland. A great place.

  3. Toad Hollow Photography September 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Great shot, Brian, love the artistic tension you’ve created and accented here with this shot.

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