In photography, as in life, you have to look at the big picture. Literally.
Check out the accompanying photo. If you look only at the duck, you'll see nothing of interest. The duck isn't flying, preening, mating, eating a Twinkie, or doing anything else that might grab your attention. It's just there.
And yet, the image is compelling. Which means the main subject, the duck, plays only a minor role in making the image a success. I don't know about you, but for a lot of people, that statement turns the notion of a photograph on its head.
So what makes this image attractive? The water, of course. It not only looks like liquid metal, but offers a playful reflection of the duck's head. You could even argue that the water forms the actual subject of the photo, and that the duck simply serves as a resting point for your eyes.
Key takeaway: A photograph isn't just about the subject you want to capture; it's also about about everything else in the frame. In fact, the "everything else" is often what makes the image sing.
So next time you're about to press the shutter button, stop for a minute and take a good look at everything in the viewfinder. Chances are, you'll become more aware of the bigger picture. And you'll find that the smallest change, such as moving the camera a few inches to the left or the right, can make that bigger picture, better.
I took this photo at Poole Creek.