I suppose “before-after” is a bit of a misnomer for today’s illustration. There is no difference in the before and after except for some markings! But I thought it would be fun to show how taking a few moments as you compose a shot can really help to create an image that draws the viewer to your subject. I’ve chosen two favorite images from recent sessions with my 2014 senior models Emily and Danica to illustrate. Let’s have a look first at this snowy image of Emily. We are just drawn to her gorgeous, smiling face, aren’t we? One reason for that is the focus is placed there (I took this image with my lensbaby, which blurs focus in a circular pattern from the center). But even more than the focus point, there are natural lines in the image that pull our eyes to her. The edges of the path of snow she’s standing on and even the tracts in the snow narrow our focus to her body. And the position of her right arm points us right to her face. Simple and beautiful, right?
And here’s another example with the lovely Danica. Again, the surroundings (mainly the tunnel) really place Danica at the center of our attention here, with the walls and the pavement both containing lines that converge near her body. Even the sidewalk behind her performs that function. But her pose is important too–her right leg prevents us from moving past her–it almost trips us! and leads our eyes right to that gorgeous smile. (Her arms also lead to her face.)
Next time you’re out and about, pay attention to how patterns in the environment (sidewalks, roads, fences, hedges, lampposts, trees, I could go on!) lead your eye–and imagine how you’d place your subject to maximize the effect of these natural “pointers” (better yet, don’t imagine, practice with a subject!).