My Thought Processes on Cropping a Portrait for Maximum Impact

in #photography5 years ago (edited)

Much of what goes into a final image is a matter of personal taste, however, there are some basic rules and thoughts that could help you when composing a portrait or image in the camera. Of course, you can usually recompose via effective cropping depending upon the necessary final output resolution.

In this image, you notice the two women pressed tightly together. You see her wine glass, but it doesn't really pull your attention away from the the figure on the left side. Why are we pulled toward her? One reason is the placement of her eye in this crop being at the intersection of the Rule of Thirds, which you've likely aware. Sometimes it's okay to put things directly on that point, other times it's totally fine to not be exactly on the mark. No one is coming along with a Rule of Thirds template checking your work.

You'll also notice the photo border generated by NIK Color Effects Pro 4 has cropped her bun off too much losing it completely. So review your image again after applying effects and whatnot to it as the loss of that element impacts the image negatively to me. Also, since I'm critiquing this image, the crumpled paper (top right) is distracting and should be cloned out.

In the uncropped image, you can see all sorts of distracting elements. I could have either used a longer lens or moved closer in order to achieve a similar cropping effect. The down side to moving in closer is that a large camera and lens can be a distraction if you are right on top of someone not used to it. Using a longer lens can be good, but the look will be different - depends on what you are going for - experiment.

Elements I've removed are most of the very distracting half empty wine glass, the hair bun, awkward arm placement and the vase. All of this serves to keep you fixated on the two subjects not bouncing around the image looking at unimportant objects.

Depending upon how this short tut is received, I'll post more of these lovely ladies as they've just returned from a night out on the town.

This image was shot with the Canon 85mm 1.2 L ii - the 85mm 1.8 is also amazingly good for a fraction of the price. Some professional wedding photographers prefer the little 1.8 as it is by far faster, lighter & less obtrusive. The 1.2 has it's place when you need creamy smooth bokeh. Turns out this image was shot at f3.5 as shooting it wide open at f1.2 would give me only the eyes in focus, but not the nose or the other way around unless they were a good distance away from the lens.

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#photography #portraits #art