An easy fix for a common compositional boo-boo
By Mason Resnick
September 14, 2009
When photographing people, don't waste half the frame with stuff that isn't important. If you can fold the picture in half and not lose anything you won't miss, it's time to change your shooting habits.
Today’s “Fix the Pix” was shot with a Nikon S60 compact digital camera.
Deciding a subject's position within a photograph can make the difference between the "oops, my camera went off" look and a well-composed photo. But many times, snapshooters fill more than half the frame with sky, while their helpless loved ones are stuck in the lower half of the image.
Look out above! If you can fold a picture in half and not miss anything important in the upper half, you need to tilt your camera down more when you take pictures of people. The top of her head is at the middle of the frame.
Here are three ways you can fix the pix:
1. If you find you leave a lot of sky in your people pix, tilt the camera down a bit. Be conscious of the distance between the tops of peoples' heads and the top edge of the photo. There shouldn't be much space there.
2. Move in: Maybe you're too far away. Zoom with your feet: Move a step or two or three closer. As long as you're not cutting anyone off at either side of a group shot, get as close as you want!
3. Get even closer: Get dramatically close and fill the frame with your loved one's face.
No more overhead: I used all three of the above ideas to fix this shot: I zoomed in with my feet and lens a bit, and tilted the lens down. (By zooming in, I also got rid of that distracting chair on the right.)
An exception: If there is something interesting in the background that you want to include in order to tell a story, such as landmark in a travel photo, then by all means, leave enough room to include it.
Otherwise, tilt down, and leave out all that wasted space!