Do you want to improve your portrait photography? An almost universal rule for taking more compelling portrait images is to fill the frame with your subject. That means getting closer to the subject (or zooming in closer) so that the subject entirely fills the frame.
It doesn’t matter whether the subject is people, animals, or objects – fill the frame with the subject for more interesting images. This can feel a little funny at first, particularly as you move in closer than you normally feel comfortable. Push through the discomfort – it will be worth it and your portrait photography will benefit.
I find the best way to do this is to stand much closer to the subject than you normally would. If you are feeling uncomfortable, like someone is in your personal space, then you are in the right spot.
Why does this work?
Filling the frame with your subject creates more compelling images because:
- it focuses the viewer completely on the subject, and
- it removes any distracting background elements
Show me an example!
Here is an example of a children’s portrait.
It was shot indoor, with a large glass window behind me. The window was not in direct sunlight, so it was producing very soft natural light across the subject. The room contained furniture and children’s toys. These are normal elements in a home with children but they have the potential to distract your viewer if you include them in your image.
In this case, although I was using a 24-105mm lens, I didn’t need to use the zoom right to the 105mm end of the range. I was close to the subject and managed to fill the frame completely with the subject. The result – a simple compelling portrait photograph (which doesn’t show the clutter and mess in the room around them.)
This is one of my favorite portrait photography tips.
How do you find standing close to the subject and filling the frame? Do you find it more effective to position yourself close to the subject, or a little further back with some zoom?