28 Dec 2007

How to photograph people -simple portraits 3


I've been enjoying showing you some of these black and white images of mine. This time I’ve chosen a photograph to demonstrate the importance of good composition within a simple portrait.

The picture itself is pretty simple. A telephoto lens was used, and this has foreshortened the perspective and pressed the farmers together from front to back. This in itself has had a powerful effect on the composition by making all three heads the same size. It has flattened the perspective into three layers.

Lines of composition do not need to be obvious. The horizontal line created by the top of the metal gate, which runs along the bottom third of the picture, is a pretty obvious line of composition. So, too, is the diagonal line made by the man’s forearm. This line is extended upwards across the lighted side of his face. The area of the hand and face has become the focal point. Diagonal lines of composition can be very effective and appealing.

The less-obvious line of composition is the eye line of all three farmers. This follows the line of the arm towards the bottom right of the picture. There is little to satisfy the eye down there and it is drawn back into the top third of the picture by the light on the man’s hand and face. Then the whole process starts again – the eye is being drawn around the picture in a cycle, gathering information as it goes, but always coming back to the focal point.

1 comment:

John said...

Holy cow, that's a great photo- you are spot on about the eye rotating around it and returning to his face, and the textures on his coat & hat are arresting. Thanks.