Like the Naked Leads the Blind

Not open for further replies.


TPF Noob!
May 22, 2006
Reaction score
Self Portrait taken at 3:00am. Critiques and constructive criticism definantly welcome!

I like your lighting and the post processing here. Love the contrast :thumbup:.

However, I think this would be stronger if it was framed verically.
Also, the signature, is a bit XL; but it's your call. :)
The crop should indeed be verticle for classic compositon, but it seems more and more people are going this route and it just looks out of balance to me.

This is not just for this photographer, but in general. It makes me wonder if they choose to break an accepted guideline for some specific reason, or just don't know any better.
what if i wasn't going for classic compostition? do i still not know any better?
I like the lighting..... but the way the white on the chin on the left isn't defined from the background meaning its completely white, doesn't that break a rule too? (maybe that was just my professor??)
I guess I don't understand why you think the crop is so off balanced. Part of my shooting style for portraits is to have the subject off to one side. Is that wrong of me to do?
Well it isn't how I would shoot one. To my old eye it isn't a pleasing composition but if it is your style it is your style.

If you shoot for money, you generally want to shoot a style the customer likes. If the customers sees your style and likes it then it is a great style. It just seems awkward to me.

I'm curious, did you learn that style in a school somewhere, or just develop it on your own. It has been over two decades since I taught composition, so things may have changed that much.
I like the horizontal cropping. I guess it is more modern but I see it everywhere. I think it might have looked a little bit more pleasing if you had included just a bit more of your shoulders. I think the lettering is a little bit distracting, but at the same time it helps sort of balance out your composition also. What kind of lighting were you using?
Mysteryscribe, i see where you're coming from about rules of composition, but this is a style that i've developed on my own. not something that somebody taught me.

As for the lighting, i was using two flashes. One aimed at the background and another bounced off a white wall to the left.
Like I said earlier a style is personal. I just looked at it from a viewers perspective and that is personal as well. I see a lot of horizontal and to me it always looks like someone didn't bother to turn the camera up.

I shoot a lot of posters, so im used to seeing blank space but something usually goes into the space.

And yes you are probably right about it being a modern thing. The tv and movie screen are horizontal and most likely that is why it is not bothersome to younger photographers. That is my guess anyway. Do they still advise young photographers to look at books on painting for composition tips.

Like I said before I am seriously curious not being a smart ass though I can be that to on occassion.

And a lot of really good photographers are self taught nothing wrong with that. I would suggest you keep the lines of communication open as that is how you learn. Listen to all the points of view try them all (expecially since digital is cost effective) . Don't nail yourself into anything until you see and try it all. Just advice I don't expect anyone to take.
I use horizontal compositions for some of my portraits also, but I do think this one feels a bit off balanced. you could stick with the horzizontal, but crop it down to 5:4. Personally, I'd go with square. There's just too much white background for me and my eye gets lost in it. By trimming some of it out, your face becomes much more focused and striking.
Mark, could you send me to one of your horizontal headshots please. I am dead curious now.

And i will agree to this about the shot with the angle of his head the the crop that is there square is about the best you can do.

I can remember several cases where horizontal is the only way to go. I am thinking of a very famous profile headshot of a man with a cigar. The cigar was the reason for the horizontal crop. In the classic or old school (I guess now) It was verticle subject, verticle crop. However a man with a cigar is not a verticle subject any more.

I took a look at some skateboard contest winner pictures because someone said a center skater is a no no... Well it is, if there is a reason for him not to be. However if the shot has no over riding reason then the shots are verticle and as close to centered as is possible and not lose the reason for the shot. In other words it looked to me like the shots were just the same composition as they ever were not something different at all.

So Mark I would love to see your horizontal head shots so that I can add them into the equation.

Honest to god guys I hate being behind the curve like this..
I don't want to step on JEazy's thread, but here's a couple in case any one else is curious.

I have a few square ones too, but the majority are definitely portrait orientation. There needs to be a specific reason in the image for me to go horizontal.

In the case of JEazy's, a portrait comp might feel too cramped for him, which is why I think square works so well for this one.
Your number two is a classic man and cigar reason to go horizontal.

The other two I like and have no problem at all with there is a reason for each not to be verticle.

Number three is cropped to the universal experience of having sat a lunch counter and looked through the window into the food prep area. To cut the window verticle would make it feel open on one end. the anchor feeling would be lost.

Number one I'm not sure about but it certainly isn't floating so I dont have a problem with it. (not that it makes any difference what I might have a problem with.) I think the point most people who understand composition can agree on is that you break the traditions for a reason. We were all saying the same thing I just had to understand what we all meant.

Traditional composition is alive and well and I can rest easy tonight...Or not

I to am sorry for hi jacking the thread. I would hope that all people are interested in learning. I know I am...
Not open for further replies.

Most reactions