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#5124
ArizonaGuy
Member

Be careful not to crop out body parts at awkward places. A general rule of thumb for portraiture like this is that you should never ever crop a body part off at a joint. Any joint. Ankles, wrists, elbows, knuckles, hip, etc. You do this a fair bit. Doing so is a common mistake and is instant red flag that the photographer is inexperienced (or at least lacks experience with good composition). It makes people look like they’ve been amputated. It’s distracting. The good news though is that it is very easy to learn and fix. Take your time to examine every bit of the frame when you’re looking through the view finder and look for things that are awkwardly cropped or is otherwise distracting.  When you’re going to crop a body part, make sure you’re doing so at about the midpoint of said body point (halfway between two joints, in other words).

Also, look up Rule of Thirds. I won’t explain it here since you have the world’s knowledge at your fingertips via a Google search, but suffice it to say, that learning the Rule of Thirds and how to crop body parts properly would immensely improve many peoples portrait quality. People like to say that ‘rules are meant to broken’, and I support that notion when it is done effectively, but I more strongly support the belief that until the rules have A) been learned, and B) been mastered), that people shouldn’t be trying to go out and break the rules (not that you’re really doing that, I’m just digressing at the moment. 🙂 ).

I can’t say it enough, slow down and take your time to compose a good shot with regards to the above. Your subject isn’t moving and neither are you, so there is really no excuse outside of ignorance to be making bad crops and poor technical compositions. Again, the good news is that those two basic rules are easy to grasp and implement with immediate results IF you take the time to learn and apply them.