View Full Version : How should this be composed?

02-26-2008, 09:42 PM
I read with great interest the preceeding post by Angela regarding some of her images she submitted for certification.

One of the first topics discussed was "static" images, where everything is placed dead center. That probably is the hardest habit to break out of. I am making progress in that realm, but have this question.

I shoot family beach portraits here quite often and I typically always compose the images similar to the attached. The people obviously want the water and sunset in the image but I don't feel right about off setting them to one side or the other.

How would you, those more learned that I, handle such an image?

Thank you.


02-26-2008, 10:01 PM

These clients did a very nice job coordinating their clothing for you.

As I look at the image you have supplied the first thing I notice is that the light isn't hitting their face. You've pointed it downward and just the edge of the light is hitting their face. This makes the sand to their left (camera right) so bright.

The second thing I notice is that they are turned away from you the photographer. You have most of their bodies to the left of center pointing out of the image to the left. My eye keeps wanting to flow out the left side yet the sun creates so much visual weight in the image. These elements are in conflict.
In a perfect world with no pressure to produce! I would have turned their bodies to their left and put the sun a bit more to the right in the image. Or moved the camera position to the other side of them and had the sun on the camera left side of them. Then moved the fill flash to their right side (camera left) and pointed it more upward to feather the ground. Did all that make sense?

02-26-2008, 10:03 PM
I'll just have to come down and show you in person! Then I can visit Ron Jackson too and spend some time away from this cold and snowy New England weather!!!

02-26-2008, 10:10 PM
Check out this thread, there a couple of beach portraits with a little different posing....:cool:


02-26-2008, 10:40 PM
Thanks Don, thats what I was looking for in regards the posing and composition. I've been composing these like this and it has almost gotten in a habit, you know comfort zone when things are moving fast. I will certainly will attempt to pose them into the frame, instead of out of it.............I should have known that. I've been told that before ;-) long time ago.

I tried to post a larger image so you can more clearly see the light pattern, but alas the forum software resized it for me. I'll have to work on that too, but just in case I mess it up you may have to come show me. When you live in Florida, everybody has a spare bedroom, cause all the relatives want to visit you.......

Thanks again, will post a new image like this from my next beach shoot.

Thanks Stan I did see that thread. Always looking for new ideas and poses.


02-26-2008, 10:47 PM
There are a bunch of threads on here for posting images larger. Basically you have to put the image on a server somewhere. I use space on my website provider, then you link the image into the thread and magically (if no one is stepping on an Ethernet cable) it appears!

02-27-2008, 01:48 AM
Ok here is a little larger image to view. I thought the light pattern was close, in that I have the loop on the nose of all the subjects its is just too low, not hitting the hair in the top two people......right? Catch lights appear to be about 3 oclock on the 3 gals and dad is about 1 o'clock because his head is tilted down a tad I think. I realize the first image was way to small. Please correct me if I'm wrong and thanks again.