Don’t you think Jack should be a pirate for Halloween!! I’m still trying to convince him.
When I take portraits, I wish I was vigilant 100% of the time about noticing backgrounds. The elements that might distract. Like last week I had placed a family in a beautiful fall setting, but it wasn’t until I was editing that I noticed that a tree behind the group had broken in half and it really bugged me. I cloned it out of every image. But I could have easily placed the family differently and avoided the extra work.
But sometimes, I miss seeing a background element and how it relates to my subject. Later it’s glaringly obvious and I wonder how did I not notice!
Here’s another example. When positioning a subject with a horizon behind them, be aware of how that line intersects your subject. Sometimes, raising or lowering your point of view will make all the difference in making a portrait that much better.
Photo 1, I call this Cutting Off Heads.
Is your horizon cutting off heads?
Photo 2- I lowered my point of view to better frame Jack with the trees.
Other things to consider with portraits, are the elements right behind the head. Is there a trunk angled funny, like it’s growing out of their head.
Position your subject to be framed by what is around them, instead of the background taking the attention.
Or look at the negative space, and shapes in your composition. Above, notice how the yellow trees frame Jack so nicely. That was a conscientious choice. I wanted him framed by the trees.
Again, In my work, I keep finding ways I could have composed a subject better, and with kids, you take what you can get.
But paying attention and composing your background as much as your subject is a tip worth remembering.