This blog post is not meant to be negative in any way. Many people have different capture styles. I have been studying photography and become a huge critic. I am going to talk about my pet peeves and hopefully provide a bit of information about how to take a great portrait.
1. Crooked Horizon Lines
Nothing to me is more distracting than a crooked horizon line. I work very hard to make sure all my horizon lines are straight. The other issue I have is when the horizon line cuts the head off. Watch your horizon line. Photography rules created by the founders: Horizon lines should not be in the middle of the photograph, not meant to chop off heads, and should be straight. Of course, there are times rules can be broken, but be careful. Example:
I hate to say bad things about this photo, because I love the bride and groom. I love this moment they are having and the love between them. I love this photograph, but there are distracting elements. There is a fence that goes through the head of my beautiful bride and a fence through his neck and a cow between them. The horizon line is straight, but the fence on a hill is crooked. It is a difficult photograph to find pleasing to the eye. This capture is noisy and has issues. They wanted Mt. Shasta in the background, which I do not blame them. I love that volcanic legacy. However, if they ordered this capture I would remove the cow between them and clean up the photo so they would be the stars of the show.
2. Background Issues
Oh my, that might be a great portrait, but there is a tree, pole, column, flag pole, or telephone pole coming out of their head. When finding that perfect location for the session, check what could be coming out of their heads. I admit I have taken photographs and looked back and become disappointed when I see I have provided them with antlers. I have taken portraits where a horizon line might be coming out of the mouth. Always check the background.In this photo, I should have removed the tree hat. The tree coming out of the top of her head, which is distracting to me. I can go back and take off the tree hat and crop this into the rule of thirds. I do the love the clouds and the mountain behind my beautiful friend.
How busy is the photograph? Is the subject the attraction in the photograph? Did you take a great photograph but there is a garbage can or trash in the photo? All of these questions are great to ask when composing a shot. I like to keep my subject or subjects the star of the show. I love this couple. I have to admit, this is not the best shot of a cake cutting. Notice all the noise in the background and the person in her veil. Plus this is a pull from Facebook so the quality is low. But the point is all the noise in the background and if I went to the other side or another angle I could have eliminated some of the noise.
4. Chopping off Limbs
Be a photographer, not a surgeon. Nothing ruins a photograph more than cropping off a hand, foot, ear, arm, forehead, etc. There are safe places to crop, but then there are edits that destroy a photograph. Be careful as you capture and crop.
In this photograph the focus was on her feet, I did chop off her upper body to see what it would look like. I felt awful for chopping her in half, but I was experimenting, which is okay.
5. Understand the Rule of Thirds
This rule is the beginning of photography composition along with patterns and symmetry. There is another capture that is the Fibonacci sequence. That is a fascinating capture with a continuous pattern found in nature. But I digress. The rule of thirds “The most fundamental of all photography rules is all about dividing the capture into nine equal parts.” https://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/
Sometimes rules can be broken, but if you are looking to be great, it is important to know and use the rules. I have been studying photography for years. I love photography, and it serves as one of my passions. My focuses are portraits, families, events, and weddings. I love capturing weddings. I hope you enjoyed my blog.