A Common but Easily Fixed Mistake in Portrait Photography

When you're taking portraits, you have a lot to think about: exposure, composition, subject expression, and more. As such, it's easy to overlook something. This great video is a quick reminder to avoid this common mistake.

Coming to you from David Bergman of Adorama TV, this helpful video reminds us to look out for a common mistake that I see even experienced portrait photographers make, namely letting something like a tree or a light pole intersect the subject's head. It's an understandable error: you're focused mostly on the subject and getting the exposure right, and in the moment, you might not even notice it, but it's important to take a second to also examine the background. The problem is that a pole or tree intersecting your subject does two things: it undermines their isolation in the frame (and thus, reduces the focus on them) and it simply looks a bit strange, as the eye's inability to see the rest of the object makes it look as if it's growing out of the subject. Of course, it's an easy fix with just a step or two to the side by either the photographer or the model. The same goes for the horizon line: try to avoid letting it intersect the subject's head. 

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3 Comments

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JetCity Ninja's picture

having a post or tree growing upward into their crotch is also bad.

Austin Williams's picture

Sometimes I dont even think about the trees in the back when shooting. But you can always use clone tool to take it out really easily if it happens.