And as for shooting faces…

Don’t worry, I’ve not turned nasty for Halloween! (But I may have a few photos for you all from Tom Spindler Presents at the weekend. Yao’s doing his scare thing again!)

It’s a comment I’d made earlier today on composition when taking photos of people. A friend had taken some photos at a social event. With the cameras focusing zone set to the centre, focusing on peoples faces and not reframing resulted in lots of shots with a good amount of empty space above heads and feet cropped at the ankles. It’s all to easy to keep ones attention on what faces are doing and forget to check what the rest of the photo’s going to contain and composition.

If you’re using a compact camera with face recognition then talk of focusing points won’t be of much relevance to you but composition might. If you can move the focus point on your SLR camera I highly recommend doing so. Practice doing it quickly so you can flip from landscape to portrait and back and have the point where you need it for each shot. If you can’t move it focus on a persons eye, reframe then shoot.

I often step in to take shots for tourists so one of them isn’t left being the one behind the lens and out of the shot. I have countless holiday photos where I’m nowhere to be seen so try and help others not have the same. Just as I was walking past a group of girls at Victoria station this evening one commented to the others how they could do with a photographer to take a group shot. I caught something along the lines of “.. need a photographer ..” and spotted the camera in hand. How could I resist? 😀 I think the young lady was shocked when a split second later I said “I’m a photographer”. One of those random moments you don’t expect. They were there to see Wicked at The Apollo.

To show what I’m talking about re peoples feet here’s one of the shots from this evening cropped in three different ways. Which would you rather?

As a general rule I’d say if you’ve got leg below the knee in the shot get the feet in too with some foreground. If you must you can crop post shoot. If you’ve not got the knees in then don’t be afraid to crop tighter still. When photographing a person on their own it can also be a good idea to do a quick ‘1-2-3-4’ check – Are all hands and feet accounted for and visible? Having a hand, foot or leg hidden can make the shot look odd. You don’t always need the whole thing, just a tiny bit to show it’s present can do.