just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

September 19, 2012

Improve photos by avoiding the knee chop #PhotoGeek

An otherwise nice photo whose
subjects are chopped off at the knee. 
Here's one to file under "pet peeves": photos of people cut off at their knees (or waist, or ankles). There is a strong tendency for people to frame their subjects near the center of a photograph. For portraits it's often people's heads that get centered instead of the entire body. While this works for some shots it usually results in way too much overhead space and not enough under-head space. This tendency is so common that, when handing the camera over to someone about to snap a quick portrait of my family, I often say "make sure you get our feet, too". The person snapping the photo may find the request a little odd but I end up with better-framed photos.

Once you've gotten your friends and relatives to master the art of not chopping people off at a joint, try sharing the "rule of thirds" to make shots much more interesting. From there move on to a few more simple techniques for improving photos.

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