A friend commented that she liked my photos because they are zoomed in a lot. You may have also noticed that I like to get in close. My composition tip today is about zooming in.

Take a look at the photo below:
Close

I filled the frame with most of my subject’s body from the top of the head to the bottom of her dress and made sure not to cut off her fingers. This helped to eliminate the busy background and allowed me to put the focus on my daughter. But there is a headless man in the background which is battling to steal my gaze away.

How about we get in a bit closer?
Closer

This shot doesn’t seem as strange as the first photo. Now you can’t see any other body part of her daddy except his hand. It’s a little better.

Let’s try to crop it a bit more:
Closest

Now that the floating hand isn’t visible, all the attention gets drawn to my main subject as I had originally intended.

I don’t know how you may feel about close ups, but I rather like them. Most photos I see, in various family albums, usually depict the whole body of the subject surrounded by their environment. If it’s indoors, the background is usually cluttered with furniture, toys, etc., which can be distracting to the eye. By zooming in close, you can instantly eliminate the clutter and your point of interest is clearly visible and made obvious.

Some people prefer to shoot wider so they can have the choice of cropping later. My husband used to do that and guess what he ended up doing? Yup. He left them all as-is. If you enjoy photo editing, then you can shoot in that manner. However, if you don’t have the time to dabble with each photo in post processing, checking your composition when you take the photo in the first place and zooming in will get you to the end result faster.

So try to get in close, preferably without using your flash (you don’t want to stun the little guys, right?) and perhaps you will like close ups as much as I do!

Laura is a Vancouver wedding and portrait photographer. Visit laurahana.com.