Friday, October 17, 2008

The right way to cut someone off:

I was editing some pictures today. Usually I am in full control of my camera, but this roll of film (I don't use film anymore, but that just slipped out like it was 1995) had some pictures taken by others on the trip. I noticed that I tend to frame the photo as I go, while others take a picture, I am sure, intending to frame/crop it later. Okay, the other photographers probably did not intend to crop anything, but it got me thinking that perhaps I should share some guidelines for framing a shot.

The following photo is of my sister and her husband. I took this photo of them standing. I left even space around them, top, bottom, and both sides.

For a closer photo, I could crop the photo like this:

(keep hands in the picture unless you are photographing an amputee)

When cropping the photo later, or framing the scene as you are taking it, there are some rules to follow. I didn't make up the rules, but I still like them. You can cut people off to make a closer shot, but stick with the major joints in the body like elbows, hips and sometimes knees. Like "y" is sometimes a vowel, cutting someone off at the knees should be used sparingly, but is far preferable than the dreaded "ankles up" shot  (I made up that term).

This is an example of cutting someone off at the elbow. Shrink the space at the top of the photo as well to keep proportions. Include the person's or people's jewelry in the photo and a woman's entire chest. Even if it saggin', which is not occurring with my sister, you can cut the shot below the elbows to get it in.

Ankles Up
(We lost our feet in a terrible rock climbing accident)

Taking pictures of a whole person includes their feet. I see missing feet all the time in people's pictures and it drives me kinda crazy. 

I hope this is helpful and we can all keep our feet and hands inside the photo from now on.


Anonymous said...

Good advise, Alysun! I’m sure I’ve commited many of the above mentioned mistakes. I’m glad to see you are feeling well enough to blog again. You had me worried. :)

Cathy said...

I've never heard the "major joints" rule, but it definitely looks right! When I take pictures, most of the time I try to frame it when actually taking the picture,like you. But, when I do crop, my eye tends to go to the joints. So, it's nice to hear that I'm not crazy when my mind says, no, that just doesn't look right. Thanks for the visuals too!
That's a great picture of Andrea and hubby.

Andee said...

Aw. aren't we cute. Thanks for the good advice. I have a confession. I don't think at all when I take pictures. I look in the little display on the back of the camera and if it doesn't look right, I just take it again. This is useful info I will try to implement in the future.