Clean up and get rid of the clutter.
Sounds like a job for the cleaning crew, right? Well it goes for photography too.
This tip actually goes hand in hand with my other tip about zooming in with your photos. Both techniques basically accomplish the same thing - to simplify your photos.
My husband is notorious for taking a picture without touching the zoom. That's why now I usually set up the camera for him, and then just have him aim and shoot. Otherwise, I have pictures of me and my daughter that are similar to the photo in this post - we are tiny in the frame and surrounded by all sorts of other stuff.
Sometimes, you'd like to keep the context. If the photo is about the person/child within their environment, or doing something funny, you'd like to include it in the photograph.
But, wait. Does everything really need to be in the photograph? Computer cords? The diaper genie? Your husband's socks on the floor?
People are usually quick to get the camera, quick to take a photo. That guarantees that at least you'll have many photos that don't have a lot of thought put into them. The Internet is full of them. Yes, you've recorded the moment, but is there an impact to the photo? Have you really captured a great memory, or just a messy room?
In the name of getting a 'moment', sometimes it's absolutely necessary (I'll forgive you if it was your child's very first step and the garbage can is in the background). But most times, it's not the rush. It's simply that we don't tend to pay attention to these things. We focus on the subject and ignore everything else. That's why you see photos of people with trees growing out of their heads, and big, hairy dudes in speedos on the beach, taking in the sun just beyond where your kids playing in the sand.
Photography isn't only about what you're taking a picture of, it's equally what you're not taking a picture of. Make no mistake - I doubt there's any pro photographer out there who doesn't consider this when they look through the lens. Sometimes it's unavoidable when it's a difficult environment, but at the very least they're still aware of it (and then post-production is your best friend). Heck, sometimes it's for fun, as in the picture above, that I took as I purged my daughter's room in preparation for some updates. But when you'd like to take a photo to catch a memory - it becomes important to ensure that you eliminate stuff that doesn't belong in that legacy.
So next time, just before you take that photo, scan the room and remove the clutter that doesn't support your picture. Put hubby's socks into the laundry! And move away the diaper genie. Please.