Photo Composition for Better Photography
Notes from the Web
People add immediate
interest to a picture. Why? Because...
- People are interested
in other people first and foremost.
- People provide
context for the scene
- People offer us
their stories; i.e., their culture, lives, and experience
- People can set
the scene for action
- People in the
scene allow us to experience the scene vicariously.
- People provide
a reference for determining object sizes in the scene.
- People make photographs
I have too many snapshots
where I asked the person(s) to pose for the camera and say cheese.
This works for group photos, but doesn't work well for very small
groups or singles. Here are some suggestions
- Start by having
the person look any where but at the camera. This can provoke
interest by causing us to ask "what's he doing?".
- Ask for poses
that suggest motion such as climbing stairs, leaning, walking,
twisting, or any other simulated motion.
- Next, have them
actually do something in situ - eating, sitting, reading, talking,
laughing, playing - so that they appear natural.
- For groups, encourage
a arrangement the explains the group or creates an atmosphere
- If need be, think
like a movie director and "direct" your conscripts.
Better, ask them for ideas, and see where they take you.
- Ask them to wear
bight and colorful clothes. Silly as this sounds, it really
In short, be creative
and use your imagination; just don't have them stand there, stiff
Are we missing feet,
hands, or even heads? Did the frame lop off needed body parts? Could
be a problem.
For example, its better
to crop at the shoulder than the elbow or the wrist. Better to cut
at the waist than the knees. Loosing a head is never acceptable.
includes zooming out, drawing the group together, or drawing the
extremity closer to the torso. Another strategy is to zoom in to
focus on some section of the person or body to create an entirely
- Head room - leave
room above the subject(s) head
- Nose room - leave
space in front of the face (in profile) to prevent suffocation
- Room to Move -
leave space in front of moving objects so that they can "move"
into that space.
There is an optimum
distance from the camera for people to stand - around 15 to 20 feet.
This distance will provide the proper size and scale for the picture.