Do you need some headroom?
What is headroom? Simply put, the space between the top of your frame and your subject’s head is called “head room.” Having just the right amount of head room makes all the difference.
So what’s the rule?
To maximize the impact and attractiveness of your images, pay attention to where your subject’s eyes are. The eyes, you see, are considered the focal point of interest in portraiture. And you want your portraits to have an inherent balance and a naturally pleasing feeling. To achieve that natural balance, you want your subject’s eyes to line up right about 2/3 of the way up your frame. Or, said another way, one-third of the way down from the top of the frame.
Too much or too little?
Which would be best?Too much head room and your subject will appear small and awkward and the top of the photo will contain a lot of dead space. Your photo will not be interesting. That’s not good. Too Little headroom, and your subject appears too massive for the picture, or kinda squashed up to the top of the image. It can be distracting. And it looks painful for your subject.
The Rule of Thirds – A classic rule of portraiture
Of course, the rule of thirds is a classic in portrait work and you disregard it at your peril. But like any rule, there are times to break it. Extreme close-ups, which can be dramatic and evocative, are one of my favorites. The more you zoom in, the less headroom you have to have.
One of the most common mistakes that casual camera users make is to have too much headroom: too much space above the subject's head.
Just to be sure you’re composing the shot correctly in your camera, set your lens to a slightly wider angle and capture more of the surrounding than you need. This gives you some space to play with later, allowing you to crop or recompose the photo when you do your editing on your computer.
Happy shooting! – Kate.
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