Limbs and extremities in the frame

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by in2thewild, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. in2thewild

    in2thewild No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hello,
    I would like to know if there are guidelines on how to frame a person in a shot. My question is more specific: when can I leave out the hands / feet? If, for example, I keep on part of the arm does that mean I should put the whole one(is it all or nothing?).

    I keep framing my subjects badly, but I'd really like to know how to think about this. If I want to take a shot of someone from waist up, must I then keep the arms and hands?

    Hopefully my question isn't too vague.

    Thanks


     
  2. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The best way of learning composition is to look at pictures - they don't have to be photographs. If there is an art gallery near you, go have have a good look. Pick some pictures you like and see where the arms and legs are. Pick some pictures you do not like and see where their arms and legs are. Then make up your own mind as to how to make pictures that YOU like. My opinion will not help you to produce those pictures.

    www.johns-old-cameras.blogspot.co.uk
     
  3. in2thewild

    in2thewild No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, so I can do what I want? Great :). Thanks
     
  4. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. in2thewild

    in2thewild No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't need to worry about that just yet. I'm just learning the basics at the moment :). Thanks
     
  6. robbins.photo

    robbins.photo Yup, It's The Zoo Guy Supporting Member

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    In general, try to avoid cropping close to a joint. If your going to leave out say, part of an arm try not to crop it at the elbow or wrist. If your going to show fingers, show all of the fingers not just parts of them, etc.
     
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  7. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    Just keep your fingers away from the joint. :1219:
     
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  8. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Rule #1. Don't cut the head off. Makes for a boring portrait.
    Rule #2. When in doubt, shoot a little wide and crop. Better to have a bit too much body in the photo than too little. You can always crop. You can't add missing parts. We'll at least not easily.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Try not to cut right at the joint....like for example, do not cut right at the wrist, but above the wrist, between the wrist and elbow, can be okay. Try not to cut right AT the elbow...show some of the arm above it or below. Same with the feet... leave the feet in most of the time, and cut only at the mid-zone above the ankle and below the knee. Don't cut right AT the knee...but cut at around the mid-thigh height.

    This is sort of the general idea.

    As far as cutting off the top of the head: on a horizontally-framed shot, a head-chop in a 3:2 ratio still photo, that almost always looks like an utter noob took the shot. On a close-in, tightly-frame vertical, the top of the head can be cut off--as long as "it works"....and many times it will not. Keep this idea firmly in mind: still photos are NOT framed the way you often see cinema images. The 3:2 aspect ratio cameras are common these days--but the aspect ratio of 3:2 is not very classical, and in many situations, that aspect ratio makes for a poor portrait image.

    The horizontally-framed 3:2 aspect ratio image area is VERY wide, but not very tall. And the vertical 3:2 aspect ratio image area is very tall, and super-skinny. The 3:2 aspect ratio frame is very challenging at times, and many think that it hinders portrait composition for many beginners.

    Keep in mind that MANY "talls" will look awkward when framed using the entire height of a 3:2 frame; this is why the professional FX Nikons have a built-in 5:4 aspect ratio option, so that the photographer's who use these high-end bodies can compose beautiful 4x5 or 8x10 or 16x20 images directly in-camera, using the bottom of the frame (aka the base) as well as the top area (the head space) to create a photo that has well-proven, long-standing, elegant final image proportions and which is built on a base that everything else in the frame relates to.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  10. in2thewild

    in2thewild No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks very much - you answered my question. I'll look up aspect ratio!
     

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