what is the subject?

what is the subject

I find myself mindlessly scrolling through people’s blog posts and looking at their pictures, catching a line or two of text if the pictures look interesting. I don’t think that is going to change to be honest but I thought it was a good metaphor for how we even look at pictures sometimes and therefore how we take pictures.

Point, click, done.

Without trying to sound pompous, taking pictures on film (with only 24-36 frames) really makes you slow down and think before you shoot. What is the subject? What do I want to highlight? I don’t always get it right but I get a good ratio of decent to throw away pictures on a roll of film. But when I shoot on digital that ratio widens. I don’t focus on the subject all the time. Clutter gets in and I ignore the rules of composition. Now sometimes the rules need to be broken but a vast history of art exists which show us the rules work. They lead the eye, grab our attention, create an atmosphere.

I thought I would share some tips on composition over the next while if people are interested (so let me know if you are interested by commenting).

But today’s post is just to remind you to start thinking about the subject. Sometimes it is obvious. A person or a group of people, a vase of flowers. Sometimes it is less obvious. Sometimes you zoom in on the flowers – now which one is the subject, the one tilting it’s head. Or what about when you are shooting a landscape. Sometimes it is the castle on the hill but maybe it is just a beautiful scene. Even then a picture becomes more interesting and people look more intently when something captures the eye. A lone tree, a bench or a person in the distance. Even when the subject is a ‘scene’, being aware of what you want to highlight helps you to frame the picture, consider focal point and use compositional rules to lead the eye.

By being conscious of choosing your subject you can instantly start taking better photos.

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy these tips for composing better images and an exercise in light.

buildings of trieste

Don’t you love when you come across a hashtag on Instagram that no-one else is using. It works as a great ‘filing system’. I have started ‘filing’ my images into several categories and #buildingsoftrieste is one I started to tag all my photos of the buildings I capture in Trieste. There sure is some fancy architecture around here and it is great when I want to brag to friends or family who haven’t visited yet to show them the beautiful city I live in.

I also tag my food pictures with #mycreativeeats. I love food and this is a great repository for mini-recipes (you know the kind that are just ingredients thrown together and not really recipes at all). I also just started #mypancakeclub which I would love people to share their own pancake inspiration to. Just a unique topping or addition to the mix. I love pancakes!

Moving on from my own ‘creations’. I love #notmynonni (nonni being grandparents in Italian) from @notmynonni. Italy’s elderly make up a large chunk of the population and they are such brilliant characters.

I’ve found participating in hashtag challenges (is that what you would call them) or just tagging pictures are a great way of coming across new (to me) Instagrammers (particularly in my new part of the world) and a friendly way to grow my Instagram following. Though I suggest when hashtagging don’t go overkill!

So tell me how do you use hashtags and what are some of your favourites? And also how irritating is it that you can’t click on tags on the Instagram website?!

1day12pics a photo a day in august by mycreative

I don’t seem to be very good at getting all my photos in a row on #1day12pics day. I am going to blame it on the summer. These weren’t taken every hour (I think there was a break of about two hours in there somewhere), and I finished with only eight photos on the table because in the evening I kindly went to my friend who helped me dye my hair with henna and there was no way I was going to share a selfie of myself with my head wrapped in clingfilm with green liquid occasionally running down my face.

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I did go with a theme though, well two actually. Round and Red. I really like the challenge of looking for something that fits into a theme. It really practises the eye. You can catch up on my Instagram to see details of what I got up to.

It was so great to see more people taking part this month. Don’t forget you can take part whenever you want and to please link your blog or Instagram account to the linky.

#1day12pics | august


Woops almost forgot about this one! Another month is rolling in which means it is time for another #1day12pics!

A reminder of how it works

1. Each month we’ll nominate a day where we will take a photo every hour, all day. (This month it’s Saturday 2 August).

2. You can join in on that day, or on any other day in the month.

3. Share your photos with the hashtag #1day12pics on any social media platforms you use – we’ll be using TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

4. If you blog, write a post about your photo day and link it up at the end of this post. This works best if you link to your actual blog post with your images. You can also link to your instagram account or pinterest board.

5. Use any camera, including camera phones. Don’t worry if you’re a bit late or miss one of your photos.

6. Things are more fun with friends. Please ask yours to join in too.

Link up!

#1day12pics is a monthly collaboration between MYcreative and Emma Davies Photography.

So, as I mentioned, I went away on our familymoon and totally forgot to take a charger for my dslr and thus was stuck with a useless bunch of extra weight for our holiday! I did however pack my film camera about which I was incredibly happy about. In retrospect it is a very interesting exercise to be limited by a film camera to practise photography, particularly the composition aspect.

I thought I would share some analysis of a few of the photos I took. If you are interested in working on your own composition you can pick up a point and shoot disposable camera for a few pounds and developing can be done at Snappy Snaps.

Image One

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This is just basically all off. The point of focus I was aiming for is the family group on the bench. The framing doesn’t really draw your attention to them at all, however, and the background is distracting. Plus there are lots of elements on the edges that clutter the picture.

I could potentially have moved around and had them straight on with the less distracting and more atmospheric church, but street photography with a non-automatic focusing camera has some difficulties. Alternatively moving a bit closer might have helped (my camera has a prime lens so moving rather than zooming is the option).

Image Two

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Looking back on the images in retrospect I sometimes wonder what I was ‘thinking’ in taking the image. I think in this image I was trying to photograph the bicycle with flowers balanced with the old man smoking. However, the bike on the edge and the person with the shopping totally limit the viewers ability to focus on this balance.

Getting lower might have helped to get rid of the sign above the gentleman’s head too. And maybe a few steps to the left would have helped get the right ‘balance’.

Image Three


Can you see a pattern emerging here in where I go wrong? Cropping in camera is a handy skill. If I had ‘zoomed’ in and just got the lady and the dog I would have been happy with the picture. Half chopped off bodies are distracting!

Also, I am terrible at getting straight photos!

Okay so now I need to go out and practise some more…

Did you find this useful? Would you like to see some more ‘dissection’ posts?


So I totally forgot about my own photo project collaboration until the day was half way through. But then I had a good excuse. I was on our familymoon (Tim’s family had come all the way from South Africa so we were spending time with them post wedding). We were in Florence on the selected day and I have no idea of the hour of these photos so I have just put together a random selection.

Also, I failed to take a charged DSLR battery with me so I only have a mixture of iphone pictures and film pictures from our week and a half away!

Anyway here we go, not quite 12 but there you go. (Excuse the quality of the film photos as the scans aren’t that high quality).


1. A healthy breakfast with the family. (iphone)


2. Tim and I went to have some coffee by ourselves and did a lot of people watching. (film)


3. The family joined us and then we headed for more coffee. I loved how this guy was reading the newspaper too. (film)


4. The family stood in line at the Duomo while we wondered around the outside, visited Eataly (which is coming to Trieste in the new year apparently) and did some more people watching. (film)


5. Wondering the streets. (iphone)


6. Lunch time. We finally settled on this sandwich place which had a massive queue but was totally worth it. (iphone)

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7. Past the Santa Croce Piazza. (both – like the ‘messed up’ film one which is a combination of a man at a table doing something and Tim on a bench).


8 (at top) & 9. Headed back to the flat and came across an old style photobooth!


10. It was hot and we didn’t have the energy to head out again. We ended up having some drinks on the balcony of the airbnb where we stayed and used some birthday candles to extend the light a bit.

Don’t forget if you took part in July to link up with your post.