Marketers rely on their “Ps”…Product, Placement, Pricing and Promotion to communicate and motivate their audiences and photogs have theirs too…well, we do now…a new construct…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Jim Richardson, a friend of Joe McNally, once said “if you want your pictures to be better, stand in front of more interesting stuff…” Ya gotta position yer camera in front at of something someone is gonna wanna to look at. Lets go with people here. People like to look at people. People pay big money to look at people (yes that stuff too…case in point…) so you cant go wrong here.
It’s hard to get too close when shooting peeps. Get in tight then get closer. Rule of thumb…for a 50mm “normal” lens, about 2 steps back from your subject. Gotta new-fangled wide angle zoom and shooting at 18-24mm? Put your hand on their shoulder and start clicking. Getting in close will help your images connect with your audience rather than just communicate with them.
I can’t tell you how many snaps Ive seen over the years where faces are placed in the middle of the frame and legs are cut off just below the knees. Photo sharing sites are riddled with this tedious mediocrity. It kills me. Sorry. It’s surprising too since most of us grew up in the television age and are subconscious is so accustom to seeing people properly framed on TV with their heads at the top of the frame. So here’s a tip. Every time you look through the view finder, picture Brian Williams, Ryan Seacrest, or your the political idol of your choice and think about where they would be placed in the frame. Feel free to picture them in their underwear if that helps too.
An alternative, for subjects in motion or a more “lifestyle” look is the using the Rule of Thirds to determine placement where the frame is cut up like a tic-tac-toe grid and subjects of interest are placed at the intersection of the lines.
Perspective. This is a higher order function to be sure, and takes some practice. In short, if you are shooting your subject at eye level, you run the risk of of putting your viewer to sleep…unless the rest of the image is totaly smokin’ hot and able to compensate Few things are tougher on the aspiring shooter’s self confidence than mopping drool from the corner of your viewer’s mouth as they doze off while viewing your latest efforts. So what’s a shooter to do? Go down on your subject…get in the dirt and shoot up, get high and shoot down. Do something, anything other than shoot at eye level.
And, like most rules…they are made to be broken…stay tuned…