Quantcast Portrait Composition and Subject Placement

Figure 7-3.–Rule of thirds. will result (fig. 7-1). When the eyes are looking too far away from the camera, a vague, faraway look results (fig. 7-2). The eyes also lose their brilliance and sparkle, and too much white shows when the subject’s eyes are looking away from the camera. Portrait Composition and Subject Placement As in every type of photography, in portraiture there must be one, and only one, principal point of interest. Naturally, in a portrait, this is the subject’s face. You can emphasize the point of interest in a portrait by doing the following: Having it contrast with the background Giving  it  the  strongest  lighting Posing the subject and arranging the props so all elements  point  to  it Locating it at a strong point within the picture area Where are the strong points within a portrait picture space? The principle of thirds, as discussed in chapter 5, applies to portraiture as well. These are the areas within a portrait that attract eye attention and are the preferred locations for the center of interest (fig. 7-3). In a portrait, when the main point of interest is located at Point A, the secondary point of interest should be at Point D. If B is the point of interest, C becomes the 302.159 Figure 7-4.–Subject placed too high in the photograph. secondary   interest   point.   Such   an   arrangement obviously  balances  the  composition. As stated earlier, the subject's face is the point of interest in a portrait and, of course, covers a considerable area   in   the   picture   space.   Usually   in   portrait composition, the eyes fall close to Points A or B. But these positions are approximations only. The final adjustment of the head depends upon several factors: the eye direction, the shape of the body, and the leading lines. No rule can be given for best portrait composition. Rules only give guidance to a rough approximation of good  placement.  You  can  only  arrive  at  the  best composition for each portrait through the feeling for balance  and  subject  position. When the head and shoulders are placed high in the picture frame, a sense of dignity and stability is gained. Such placement is particularly appropriate when the subject is a person of importance, such as the CO. However, when the head is too high (fig. 7-4), viewing the picture is uncomfortable because there is a feeling that if the subject stood up he would bump his head. Also, when the head is too high, the proportion between head and body areas becomes awkward. 7-7


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