Here is a little example to help you understand that how you compose and crop and image can change the emphasis of the subject.
Let’s use the situation that we are tasked to shoot some photos of this little girl in her flowery dress.
Before you begin, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is “Who am I shooting this for and what should I emphasize?”
Why does this matter?
Let’s say that you are shooting for a clothing company that makes the outfit the girl is wearing… you will want the picture to highlight the dress. The dress that happens to be worn by the little girl. The dress gets the emphasis more than the girl, so you may want to frame the shot something like the example below.
But, now let’s say that you are shooting for the girl’s mother or a magazine that is all about kids… you will want to highlight the girl. The girl who happens to be wearing a flowery dress. The face gets the emphasis not the dress, so you may want to frame the shot something like the image below.
Why is this important? If you are not aware of what you are saying/emphasizing in your photography then you run the risk of missing the needs/wants of your clients. Imagine the clothing company’s art director looking at a bunch of shots that are mostly like the second example that focus on the girl. He/she would not be happy because the goal was to focus on the dress, not the girl and even though the images are wonderful, they miss the mark and you have let down the person you were shooting for.
On the flip side, if you go to do a shoot with a little girl and you find out that the dress she was wearing was made by her grandmother who recently passed away, and you give the family a lot of shots like the first example, they may not even be able to express it, but they will feel a connection to those images because they focus on the dress and grab the heart.
Not only is the cropping/composition aspect of the image important, but also the angle and lenses used can add a lot of emphasis. Take a look at the example below and see how changing angles and lenses can change the focus. The girl on the left represents a photograph shot with a wide angle lens closer to the face and making it the main subject. The girl on the right represents taking that same lens and moving down and away from the face to make the outfit more important. Simple little changes can make a big difference in what you are communicating.
You as the photographer have the control to highlight and emphasize both in the camera and in the Lightroom edit, so be aware of how you emphasize your subject so that you can be a more competent and successful shooter.