In my previous Ford's Photography Classroom, I talked about putting the focus of your image off center to create better photos. This is usually a good idea, but sometimes it is better to center things. As I stated before, it is all a matter personal preference and rules are made to be broken. Let me show you some examples of images I cropped to give the subject center stage.
For this image, it about symmetry. The front leg is a little off center on the left, but for the most part, he is pretty symmetrical and the background is all the same, so the image has the most impact with him right in the center. Your eye is drawn to his eyes.
Speaking of eyes, this images really connects with the viewer because the eyes are looking straight at you. This is the original picture, the way it came out of the camera. Below you will see how I cropped it for greater impact.
I feel like there is a more intense connection with the subject here. Symmetry and closer proximity also give the image more impact.
This bird takes center stage for the same reason as the previous examples.
In this image of the same bird, I feel like the plant to the left is competing for attention.
Center weighted photos are not always about the eyes. Here the bright color of the chair draws your eye to it . The composition is more pleasing if the pop of color is in the center.
To me, it just feels better in the center. The subject feels framed and highlighted.
Because my last session had a shirtless man in it, I figured I should use another bare chested man to prove a point. This is a bad crop. It just feels like he is jumping dangerously and it will not end well.
Here is a better crop. You know he is centered over water and will end up safely in the water.
Below are some more images where the subjects are in the center. Maybe you can figure out why I made the choice to crop them that way.
Many of these images have something else in common that helps to draw the eye to the subject, but you will have to wait for my next session to learn about that. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are enjoying these sessions. I sure do love sharing what I love to do with you!
Sometimes being center stage is good, but that is not always the case in photos.
Take this photo for instance, I love the subject and it is sharp, but with a little better cropping, you get this.
Two things are different here: 1. The subject is not centered, which makes the shot more interesting. 2. There is more directional room in front of the bird, which visually just feels better because that is the direction he is heading.
This photo is not bad, but with a little cropping you get this.
There is more room in the direction his body is facing and you get closer into him.
I don't mind this photo because it shows the rain coming down on either side of the boat and sometimes you want to tell that story.
However, this composition is more pleasing to me because it draws the eye back and forth and not just in the center.
Compare these last two images.
There is no space for the frisbee to go in the top picture. It also feels too tight and your eyes not drawn to the action. The spectators receive the focus.
Bring it back a bit, and the focus is on the action. There is now place for the frisbee to be thrown.
Of course, how you crop is a personal preference. You might hate these suggestions. That's the great thing about creativity, you get to choose.
Stay tuned, in a future blog I will talk about when center focused photos are a better choice.
Jo contacted me several months back to hire me to take her college graduation photos. She had seen photos I had taken of her for the Special Olympics PolarPlunge.
The event was held in February at Lake Massapoag in Sharon. The "Plunge" raises money and awareness for Special Olympics. Participants jump into the icy water of the lake. Jo is the female in the bathing suit leading the pack.
We communicated several times about her graduation. We were to meet on the beautiful campus of Wellesley College on commencement day to get photos of her in her in her uniform. She was to receive her degree in Criminal Justice and had already landed a job.
Then I got this email from her..........
Just got myself a fur companion. I would love if you could take photos of us !"
I went away the week she got him, so we had to put off the session. By the time we were able to schedule a session, it was already the week before her graduation.
Meet Milo, the German Shepard.
Jo decided to scrap the graduation shoot and concentrate on her love, Milo. If you have a dog, you know the feeling, there is such an attachment that takes place between you and your pet.
After spending some time with them, I know the feeling is mutual between the two of them. What a great time we had.
Thanks for sharing Milo with me, Jo and congratulations on your graduation.!
There is nothing as sweet as a newborn. This beautiful little baby girl and her family were a joy to photograph.
Bedhead always looks cute on infants, especially when they are snuggled into their very proud dad.
The big, strong hands cuddling the little body with the little, pink foot sticking out , tugs at my heart.
Mom and big brother join dad to complete the family portrait.
Just too cute!
Dad's mom, and.....
great-grandmother, were able to join us for the session.
This was a special family blanket used for many generations.
Big brother deserves some attention,too.
I'll leave you with this one, I just love it!
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.