A Quick Lesson in Context and Perspective

The desire to fill the frame with a photograph’s subject sometimes diminishes the image’s impact by removing key story elements. Here’s a good example from yesterday’s shoot.

This is how I cropped the "final" version of this image yesterday. But this morning, I realized that the crop and perspective sap energy from the picture. In fact, it just looks weird, because the camera is tilted down slightly, and it looks like this dancer is hovering just inches above the floor.

This morning, I decided to expand the crop to include the point on the floor from which she jumped. Now, it makes more sense that she is jumping up into the air. The tilt of the camera cannot be addressed at this point, but I've made a note for future sessions. At least now we have a horizon line dividing the image at the 1/3 point. But there's still something disturbing about the composition.

Generally speaking, I try to frame moving subjects with space for them to move into, but in this case, where she is looking is more important than where she is going. Granted, we don't see what she is looking at, but her gaze no longer leads us immediately out of the picture, as it does in the previous image. I've already "finalized" and posted a lot of images from yesterday's shoot, but I'll be revisiting them all with more thought given to context and perspective.

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Filed under Composition, Dance and Theater

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