A pull back, in photography (and probably other things), is when you pull back from what you are shooting to take an image of the full surroundings or set up of the shot you are taking. It gives you the context of the shot and is often used to educate yourself or other people on how you got the results that you got with the situation you were in - whether found or created.
Some of you may remember my infamous park bench that doesn't look like a park bench at all. A pull back would have been a shot of the whole bench or a shot of me taking the picture of the bench so you could see what angle I was shooting from and where I was and where the sun was etc. This is good to know if I ever wanted to replicate the shot or improve it. What did I do or not do in order to get those results.
Click It Up A Notch is a blog that I often read. Today she had a post on Photography Location Ideas. It's a great example of what a pull back is. You see the final image and where the image was actually taken - very surprising!
There are many other blogs and such that do this and lots of groups on Flickr that help with that too.
But, I like the idea of pull backs in life too. I like the idea of taking a step back and seeing what it was that I did or didn't do in order to get the results that I got. What can I do better? What can I do differently?
I just made that person happy. What was it that I did? Can I do the same thing for someone else to make that person happy too? OK, I just got reprimanded at work. What did I do? What can I do better? I just solved that problem. Is there a way that I could have solved that problem better? Is there a way that I can apply what I learned in this situation to other situations? Will that help other people too?
So, don't forget to pull back every now and then and take a look at what's going on. You could be pleasantly surprised.
Here is an example of a pull back of a dandelion shot - with much thanks to my sweet Steven.