#27 in the Judging a Photograph Series
If you take a photo of a person – whether a formal portrait or not – then you will get a different feel to the image depending on where they are looking. If their eyes are looking straight into your lens, then it’s all pretty unambiguous. It starts to get more interesting when they are looking somewhere else. You are drawn to follow their gaze.
When you have two people in a photo together then it’s great to get a shot of them looking at each other. Wedding photographers do this a lot but it can easily go a bit stale. You can’t have all the shots like that. If you keep asking two people to look at each other then they just begin to lose the natural expression on their faces. One way to improve this is to get them to look at each other then ask them “do you like each other’s smiles?” Yes, that is an inane question but it does get a natural reaction and a much better photo. Perhaps you can think of something better to say.
Two Climbers or One?
If you can catch two people looking at each other naturally without being asked, it’s often quite interesting. This shot of two climbers on a cliff is actually a composite made using Photoshop. I took dozens of photos and they kept looking at each other just as the other person looked away. I was convinced it would be better if they did actually look at each other – as they had tried to do. It was a matter of ten minutes in Photoshop to put two images together. I submitted the shot for judging at my club and was quite surprised at what the visiting judge said. He felt that the man’s head was a distraction and the shot should be of the woman alone.
Was the judge right? What do you think? Please comment below, I read them all!
Previously: Tips for Cropping Photos.