Are hands important ?

jovince3000

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I've just had a reflection on something that always bothered me since the first time I've held a camera and I wanted some other inputs on the matter.

In a portrait, more specifically, are hands important to you ?

Whenever I do a portrait, I become (to excess) aware of the placement of the hands.

Now obviously I do tight head shots where hands are not part of the equation, but when they are... why do they matter ? Why is it important to not cut them or position them in an awkward way, why does it even feel awkward to begin with?

When I see a photograph where the hands were partially cuts, or are hidden in some way, I feel like something is missing or ain't right.

I've got my own reflection on the subject but I'd like to know what are your thoughts, do you share that same feeling or is it something you've never given much attention to?

cheers
 

JacaRanda

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It only became a concern once I started learning photography. Prior to that, it never really entered my mind...not once in the thousands of snapshots taken.

Now, I should at the very least be mindful of it (unless I am just taking snapshots).
 
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Why is it important to not cut them or position them in an awkward way, why does it even feel awkward to begin with?
If hands are included in the shot, they should be posed naturally.

Oh, unless an unnatural pose is the theme.
 

tirediron

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Hands, like any element, are indeed critical, except when they're not. In other words, under most circumstances absolutely, but like almost anything in photography there are times when a creative vision over-rides.
 
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jovince3000

jovince3000

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That's the funniest thing I've seen today xD

Yousuf Karsh often actively used hands as part of the frame to reinforce the impact.

yousuf karsh images - Google Search

yousuf karsh images - Google Search

yousuf karsh images - Google Search

That's one amazing source of inspiration right there, thanks for the share.

In my case, I feel like hands are important on a philosophical level. For me they represent the human body's way to touch and feel objects or even other peoples, in other words "connects" with the outside world. I feel like they should ( pretty much always ) have a place of honor in a portrait. Then again I'm probably WAY overthinking this, it's more of a personal quirk than anything else I guess.
 

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SOMETIMES hands are really helpful in a portrait; at other times, they're not so helpful, and might even be detrimental. There's no one, single hard and fast rule about hands--but there are at least a dozen guidelines about how to position them, how to not crop them, and so on and so on. It is a good thing to think about hand placement and the posing of hands, fingers, wrists, and so on. It's good that you're thinking about the issue.
 

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