focal length: 70 mm
shutter speed: 1/250
aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 200
flash: none

Here’s another compositional guideline to share with you: Remember to leave enough space for your subject to look into so that the viewer of the photograph isn’t pushed right off the edge of the image. This applies to elements in the image that point to the edge or lead our eye right off the image but for today’s post, we’ll focus on the subject’s gaze.

In the following example, I cropped the image so that the subject has no room look into, which consequently leads our eye off the image as well.

focal length: 70 mm
shutter speed: 1/400
aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 200
flash: none

When there isn’t enough room for the subject to look into, the photo only seems to be telling us “he’s looking to the left” and there is no story because it ends so abruptly.

Now, in the next image, I cropped it so that the subject has space to look into and now the story includes an element of mystery leading us to wonder what the subject is looking at.

When composing a shot, think about the story you are trying to tell and try to imagine what a viewer would be thinking while looking at that picture. Images that lead our eyes too quickly off the photo can be less effective as storytellers. One way to prevent this is to compose your shot so that your subject is gazing inwards rather than outwards.

In future posts, I’ll share some tips on environmental elements that can help slow the viewer down and allow them to take in more of what you are capturing.

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