What's the difference between cutting off limbs and framing?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Senor Hound, May 30, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so I have heard when photographing someone to not "cut off" their limbs (i.e. hands and feet). But, I was looking at a magazine cover that cut a model off at the mid thigh level. This got me thinking...

    There are tons of shots there that don't show a person's whole body, yet this rule of cutting people's limbs off still applies. As far as composure, how can you tell when you're cutting limbs off, or simply getting in tight on the subject? For example, my avatar shows me with my head on my hands, but my elbows are cut out. I know this is a no-no, yet how am I supposed to get a close shot without cutting off my elbows?

    Does this make any sense? I know there's some ideas or "rules" to follow for this, but right now, I can't tell when I'm going to be cutting off limbs and making a crummy shot or when I'm just zooming in close and getting a great shot.
     
  2. dylj

    dylj TPF Noob!

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    The rule I've heard is "don't cut people off at their joints", which I find practical and reasonable.
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    just look at the image and ask yourself if it looks something is missing. If not, then it is OK.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The key point, as mentioned is to not amputate at the joints... lol

    Mid-arm or leg looks a lot more natural and looks as if it is done on purpose. Knees and elbows are the key areas to avoid cropping.
     
  5. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    "Don't cut off limbs" isn't a rule, it is a goal.
    Goals aren't always achievable.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ... and rules are made to be broken. :lol:

    The point of it all is just don't make your subject look like an amputee when they aren't (and even better, when they *are*).
     
  7. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    as stated, its not dont cut off limb, its dont cut at the joint.. so you have an arm... you need to crop... do you crop at the wrist??? no... elbow?? no... how about forarm.. BINGO... it really does make a difference i've noticed... my sister took some pics of my wife and i for us and there were a few where she framed it at the knee or elbow, and they look bad
     
  8. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are three types of portraits. Full length, half and bust. Full length is all (most) of the body. If you have the LOWER legs you should have the feet and try not to ptograph the soles of the feet unless it lends to the overall appearance of the photograph and its presentation. Half is basically from the waist up and should include the arms. Bust is upper chest and face.

    But yes, rules are made to be broken. AMEN.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One is an incredibly painful procedure preferably done by a trained surgeon, and the other involves taking a picture and putting a border around it.

    Ok in seriousness, cutting off limbs isn't what it sounds like. When people say this we're talking about full body shots with toes missing, or someone taking a 3/4 or 1/2 body shot and the hand is missing from one arm.
     
  10. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    +1
     
  11. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    So did I do an okay job in my avatar? Here's a full shot

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3058/2493629119_87585e8f40_o.jpg

    I know this isn't the part for criticism, but I still don't quite get it. I cut the shot off at the arm/forearm, but my arms come back in to the photo, so I don't know if this would be considered cutting off limbs or not.
     
  12. Ben-71

    Ben-71 TPF Noob!

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    Rules are good as a starting point.
    Many times, bending the rule looks better. Many times, there's
    more than one good cropping.

    This, I think, sums it up pretty well –
    "just look at the image and ask yourself if it looks something is
    missing. If not, then it is OK." [Alex_B]

    IMO, your crop looks fine.
     

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