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How to frame and crop portrait photos effectively

Guide to composing and cropping portraits

There are a number of basic composition and framing techniques that can improve your photography. I’ll leave the details for another day, but we can make use of the rule of thirds or the golden ratio to take the shot or to crop it later on.

These techniques are really effective for capturing architecture and landscapes. However, it gets a little complicated with human portraits and body shots.

Here is an excellent guide on how to frame your portrait photos (click for larger version):

Guide to composing and cropping portraits

The green lines are the preferred edges of a portrait shot. Photos cropped at these areas retain a natural look and are pleasing to the eyes.

The red lines represent boundaries that should be avoided. Pictures framed or cropped on these will look awkward and unnatural.

The rest of the areas can be used if necessary, though it is best to stick to the green ones.

It may seem a little tough to use this guide for taking selfies with your mobile, but it can still be useful. Take a test shot, check your composition, then retake the pic using these rules.

Or you can use it to crop your shot before posting it. Most cellphones allow this without any additional apps.

This guide also demonstrates some common mistakes that beginner photographers make.

One such mistake is to cut off the ankles or legs from below the knees. And it is especially common in group photos.

That can be easily avoided by following the lines given here. In my opinion, it is best to include the whole figure in such cases. If you must go higher, do it above the feet or just above the knees.

Off course, there are always exceptions. Some amazing closeup portraits only contain the central part of the face. Just the eyes, nose and ears. Or angles at which these guidelines don’t quite make sense.

Once you have the eye for it, you’ll know what technique is best in which situation. In most cases though, this guide should work very nicely. via

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