Distractions, distractions, everywhere!

Distractions, distractions, everywhere!

8 week online workshop
lesson 3
Eliminating Distractions

Robyn, I have a bone to pick with you… just when I start to think I’m getting a handle on things like the elements of exposure and focus, you go and chuck something else at me to have to think about!!!!! Which I know, I know, is the point, this is what will make my photos “good photos” rather than “snapshots”, but still, did I have a stressful day yesterday or what!! Decided that my niece’s first birthday party at a swimming pool was the perfect place to really work hard on eliminating distractions as there would be a lot of them. And there were. I have now developed a hatred of chain link fencing, shade sail poles (which were EVERYWHERE) and messy piles of towels and discarded shoes! Don’t people realise how these can ruin a nice photo? And people! Well, they just keep inserting their limbs into shots just to ruin them.
I found that the best way to keep distractions out of the frame in this case was to shoot down at the kids in the pool so it was mainly water in the background, like the first two photos. In the first, of the birthday girl, the edge of the pool and the tiles are in the background obviously but I could live with this, it provides a bit of context (ISO 200, 130mm, 0.7EV, f/5.6, 1/400). The second is pretty clear (ISO 200, 210mm, 0.7EV, f/6.3, 1/400). Number three is pretty clear, isn’t she the cutest in her Supergirl cape?? I’ll admit I cropped out a stray thong that was in the top of the frame (ISO 200, 50mm, 1EV, f/3.2, 1/640). The fourth was tropical of a really nice photo now being a bit ruined by the presence of random towels and limbs that would appear in the frame 🙁 But I still like it (ISO 200, 50mm, 1EV, f/2.8, 1/400).
What I was happy with was being able to get the exposure right (I think!) without thinking about it too much and still checking and adjusting a little when it needed it. The spot metering off the face worked brilliantly as most of the shots were taken in the shade with a bright background and I didn’t get a single dark, shadowy face photo. Some things have certainly sunk in with all this practice, practice, practice!!

8WL3-1 8WL3-2 8WL3-3 8WL3-4

I live in the beautiful hills of Perth with my husband and three year old daughter. I have degrees in history and law but am staying home for a few years to raise my gorgeous little girl. I love creative pursuits, be it creative play with my three year old, sewing, or my new passion - photography. I've owned a DSLR for about 6 years but have only just started to really explore it's capabilities (and mine!).


  1. Oh, you made me laugh Siobhan. And I’m sorry I caused you stress. Or am I???? Insert evil laugh here… 🙂
    And don’t for a minute think I’ve finished giving you new things to think about? We’re only in week 3!!!! I can promise you lots more stressful days.
    Good job with these. Your exposure is great – yay for spot metering. And well done with eliminating distractions. I agree it’s not easy at all. And the more people around deliberately trying to ruin your photos, the harder it is. Good thinking, shooting down. Often in these types of environments, it’s the best option.
    With the last image most of the distractions don’t bother me too much except the dark blue thing in the top right hand corner. It bothers me because I can’t work out what it is and my eye keeps going to it trying to figure it out. I’d highly suggest cropping that out – that way her eyes will be closer to the top third as well. Don’t worry about chopping off the top of her head (more on that to come).

  2. The blue thing is her mother’s shorts. So inconsiderate. I’ve played with cropping it various ways and it helps.
    I’m sure you will give me more stress but it will all be worth it in the end 🙂
    You also made me freak out about the colour cast from all the coloured shade sails but I can now edit that out at least!!

  3. I feel exactly the same way, Siobhan! So much to think about! Great shots….I’ve got to work more on the spot metering as a lot of my shots are of the kids’ faces against bright backgrounds and they are more often than not dark. I love the second photo…what a great splash! 🙂

    • Sally, the spot metering off the face thing was a revelation to me! Solves that dark face issue 🙂

    • Sally when you get to lesson 4 on lighting there will be lots more on shooting in different lighting conditions – including kids faces against bright backgrounds

      • Hearing that makes me so happy! Not even up to spot metering yet, which sounds like a big revelation. Makes me wish the past week hadn’t been so hectic and I could have spent more time on the course

        • Couldn’t wait to find out about spot metering…looked in my camera manual and took a variety of shots to see the difference between the three options. So glad I’ve been checking in on the site even if I haven’t had time to do the lessons yet…I’ve been using exposure compensation when the photos have had a super bright background. This makes it much easier. Looking forward to getting to the lesson and learning more.

  4. I guess you’re not so evil after all, Robyn, and are teaching us useful things 😉

    • You may yet change your mind about that Siobhan – some of the upcoming lessons are pretty evil 🙂

  5. lovely photos love the swimming pool one 🙂

  6. The capture of the water in the swimming pool… great shot! I’m looking forward to the summer time so I can get some good swimming pool shots 🙂

Leave a Reply