In the education world, we know that some of the best learning happens when teachers metaphorically open their brains and let students take a peek inside at all the invisible processing happening up there. In that spirit, I'm beginning a new series of photography education blogs, in which I'd like to show you how changing one small thing, can improve an image. For each post, I'll post a before and after image + my thinking. Today's image comes to you from a little before-school toe warming session in front of the fireplace and the small composition fix I made was as simple as.... well, standing up! Check it out:
So. Why the change in perspective? Really, it's a matter of framing. In the first shot, I did what I usually do, which is to get down on his level and try to square myself to all the vertical lines. I shot, keeping in mind that the vertical line behind him should be straight, as should the window sill. The problem is that his head in that image intersects with the bottom of the window sill. As a rule, we want our pictures to make as much organizational sense as possible, and when body parts intersect with lines it can be unsettling and extra work for our viewers.
Secondly, while including the window in the picture isn't "wrong," it adds another competing element. Specifically, it adds more bright highlights. I want the fire to be the brightest thing, and including the window draws your eye in the opposite direction. My favorite thing about the image is actually the contrasting blue morning light with the warm orange light of the fire. Because of the blue light on the floor, I get to keep that lovely color contrast whether I include the window in the shot or not.
So there you have it! That was a lot of words to explain why I stood up. I hope, though, it will help you the next time you are behind the camera!