February 15, 2016
When I photograph a portrait in an iconic location like DUMBO, with the city skyline in the background it is always important to make sure that the subject doesn’t get lost in the Cityscape. This portrait from a very chilly anniversary session is one of my favorites from DUMBO because the entire composition leads the eye to the couple in the middle who are lovingly connected to each other within the frame. There are two major leading lines in the frame: the Brooklyn Bridge above them and the railing they are leaning on at their midsection. The two lines almost run parallel (except where the railing bends, which is where I placed them) and the two lines perfectly frame their faces. I talk a lot about composition and letting the eye wander and a frame with these dominant leading lines is wonderful because no matter where the eye enters the frame it is visually forced to return to the couple. Once the eye lands on the couple it can linger and doesn’t jump back to the cityscape because they are so connected and there is visual tension between them. The way her arm reaches up to his cheek and the way his arm actively pulls her in from the waist giving her a slight arch to her back makes this still portrait seem to come alive with movement and adds an authenticity to an otherwise posed portrait. His feet point in at her and her leg is bent, which both shows off a woman’s legs and creates a triangle shape, which as I’ve talked about before the eye loves to look at. All these detailed nuances may seem complicated and like too much to think about while at a wedding or portrait shoot, but composition and framing are the building blocks of the visual language. Learning these elements and practicing them will eventually make them second nature. Think about it being the same as when you truly learn another language and no longer have to translate each word back and forth in your mind. Let the visual language become intrinsic and you will naturally pose and look at all the edges of your frame for a dynamic and engaging composition before you click the shutter.