A common fault in wedding and portrait photography is consistently shooting too tight when photographing people making the viewer a little claustrophobic and confined. Naturally you wish to be able to see the subjects face but it is good practice to allow space for the image to breath. A typical example is with group shots which are often too confined. Look at the difference between the two images below. The first is shot very tight whilst the second has a lot more space to incorporate the surroundings and you can still easily see the subjects.
Naturally there are also times when you will wish to shoot tight which might include specific portraits or detail shots. The key is to understand when to shoot tight and when wide. What looks best? With todays sophisticated cameras containing many millions of megapixels you can shoot wide and then crop in to give you both options. If you look through my book “Wedding Photography – A Guide to Posing” you will see hundreds of images of both types allowing you to see exactly what works very well.
If you allow space you also give room for the subject to look into space and add context. For example it is considered more interesting to have an image where you can see what a person is laughing at as opposed to a passport style head shot giving no indication of the source of the laughter.
Shoot a little wider and allow your image to breath and you will find a lot more finesse in your images. In simple terms, think of a portrait painting from an old master hanging in a gallery – very rarely will you see a very tight crop. The artist has allowed room for the viewer to see the surroundings.
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