Happy Thursday, People! One of my favorite parts of the Workshop I taught over the weekend is the subject about composition and limb chopping. I love all of the ooh’s and aah’s that follow after showing before’s and after’s because it’s like a light went on. All of a sudden everyone totally sees it or in these particular examples, doesn’t see it. It also stirred up some questions about what can be chopped off, which made for a fun discussion and look at some comparisons.
Being aware of how you crop a portrait whether in camera or while processing is important as missing limbs can make the remaining limbs look disproportional and can cause awkwardness in the photo.
One way to avoid awkward cropping is to either take a step back from your subject to include all of their limbs (Image 1) or get in a little closer for a tighter shot (Image 2). Even further, the cropping in Image 1 looks as if the boy is sliding down off of the image because so much space is left above his head.
Another way to avoid awkward cropping is to not chop the ears off even if it means chopping off the top of the head to comply with the rule of thirds.
The rule of thirds simply divides your composition into 3 equal sections horizontally and vertically. The idea is to place the interest point, for portraits it’s the subject’s eyes, on an intersecting line as opposed to in between the lines for a more interesting image. If you look at the images again, you’ll see how the eyes of each subject falls on a third of the image for a more interesting composition.