I was recently attempting to take an environmental portrait but I got so caught up in looking at the person I forgot to scan the frame. I inadvertently included some objects that clutter the background and did not include what should be a main element in the image, the hole in the ice.
Ice Fishing 2 Ken Piros 11.02.14 10
I noticed a person ice fishing and thought that would make for an interesting image. As I shot the scene that showed him sitting by the hole he had cut into the ice I decide to take his portrait. I got so caught up in focusing on capturing his face under a big fur hat and hood I did not look for what distractions were present in the background. Off to the left hand side of the image some boxes and spare fishing gear can clearly be seen. I should have realizing the spare gear was in the frame and move slight to the side, changing the shooting angle so that I did not capture the gear in the background
I should have been more aware of how I wanted the background and dropped the f-stop down to f4 or 5.6 to create more blur and rendering the background more pleasant. The blurred background would have placed more emphasis on the fisherman.
The hole in the ice is something that should be a main part of an ice fishing image but as you can see it is missing from the frame. Had I slowed down and looked around the frame I could have seen these flaws in the image and corrected it prior to pressing the shutter release.
To improve your composition skills spend some time looking at the photos taken by people whose work you admire. Pay attention to how they've positioned their subjects within the frame, what their backgrounds look like and what was included in the image. Now, review some of your own photos and ask yourself how you might have made the picture better by changing what is or is not included in the frame.
Does the composition work well?
Is there an identifiable subject?
Does the background / foreground clutter the scene or define it?
Are people and objects in the scene level?
Does the photo tell a story, invoke emotion?
Is every image we make going to be perfect? No. Some images go into the trash can, sometimes the image is just ….ok, and other times a little closer to perfect. You can always find something if you look hard enough and a lot of times we look the hardest at our own image and don’t feel we measure up to other photographers work. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in feeling that you don’t measure up to others work, keep taking pictures, have fun’, don’t be afraid to make a mistake, we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. The more images you take the better you will become.
The great photographer Walker Evans put it this way, “When I first made photographs people thought those are just snapshots of the backyard. Privately, I knew otherwise and through stubbornness I stayed with it.”
But then again....maybe I am just being a little to over critical of my own image ; ) Last edited by Ken Piros on 11.02.14, 14:47, edited 1 time in total.