Foundations: The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds provides a guide as to the most impactful place within the frame to place key elements. Imagine two horizontal lines that split the image into thirds, crossed by two vertical, equidistant lines that split the image into thirds the other way. Placing an image component along with one of these lines or – even more powerfully – on one of the four intersections where the lines meet – contributes to a strong composition. … To get …

Flattering Feminine Portraits

Here’s how to combine one woman, one feminine pose and one close crop for a quick and easy, high-impact portrait – with absolutely no lighting kit at all. Emphasising Femininity Posing Cropping Rule of Thirds Sometimes the best portraits are the simplest. There’s no lighting kit here: just natural light and beautiful shadows that emphasise Liv’s great cheekbones. A tight crop, a gentle smile and a natural-looking pose combine to make this a portrait you can do with anyone, anywhere. …

Super-Simple Daylight Portrait

You don’t need studio flash to achieve a clean, simple portrait with great lighting. This was taken outdoors at the end of the shoot, and is ridiculously easy once you know the trick. I had nearly finished a family shoot and wanted to get a simple portrait of each member of the family. I asked Willow to sit on the curb at the road side so her face tilted slightly towards me as she looked up towards the camera. This meant …

Farmhouse Rule-Of-Thirds Portrait

Sometimes the best portraits start unplanned – in this case, during a shoot break. I saw a patch of light, adjusted the scene to improve the composition and used the Rule of Thirds for a visually pleasing result. My client for this shoot commissioned me to create some portraits of their two grownup children, at their beautiful farmhouse home on the top of a hill in the Chilterns. As you’d expect, we spent loads of time outside, making the most …

Family In A Frame Within A Frame

Frames within the edges of your image are a powerful way to strengthen your composition. Go one step further by stacking multiple frames-within-a-frame, as in this portrait of Mimi and Milos. Concepts Covered In This Article Framing Pregnancy Shots Composition Mimi and Milos came to the studio having researched us more thoroughly than any client we’ve ever had. They wanted a series of shoots documenting the birth of their first baby, Dominik and Mimi brought numerous outfits with her, each …

Foundations: Visual Balance

Every element in a photograph has a ‘visual weight’ attached to it, and a harmonious composition is one in which these elements are arranged in a way that seems to achieve visual balance overall. Elements that are high contrast, large, dark in colour, placed on one of the key sections of the frame according to the Rule of Thirds or Golden Ratio, or that we know are genuinely heavy, … To get access, you need to first be a registered …

Foundations: Cropping

A crop is the removal of unwanted elements from the frame in order to improve the composition or to increase the focus on other elements. For example, a close-up shot involves a conscious decision to exclude the rest of the subject’s body, in order to focus on their eyes, for example. Conversely, you may want to show the full body of your subject by not cropping, and perhaps show some of their environment, too. Tightly cropped portraits tend to have …

Composition for book design

When book author Sarah Virág commissioned a set of headshots for her new book, I had no idea how her book designer would use them. In addition, her web designers would also use the images online, and they would be looking for something different. All I knew was that designer-friendly composition was key. Sarah is a confidence coach and writer. Her book and coaching business focus on helping people to have more confidence and live their lives to the full. …

Topshade and Framing in a Doorway

The door in the background of this portrait provides a sense of scale, while the boy’s pose calls to mind a much older age group, creating a humorous contrast. Here’s how it came together. Finn is such a charming little chap – he did everything I asked of him and he had a really cool ‘swagger’ about him. I asked Finn to stand in the frame of the door and he did so, … To get access, you need to …