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Are you a stickler for rules? Want photography to be by-the-book?
Old school consumer photography ‘rules’ are meant to be broken:
Rule #1: “Don’t cut off the top of their head.”
On a close crop, this rule just doesn’t make sense anymore. Filling the frame with your subject draws more attention to the eyes and face, and makes the subject a pinnacle of concentration. You can’t look away. Try it.
Rule #2: Keep the sun at your back!
The reasoning behind this old rule is simple. If the sun is at your back as the photographer, then it will be in the face of your subject, where you want it. Right? Wrong. Yes, the sun will be on the subject’s face. No, that’s not where you want it.
Note: The sun is really, really bright. People will squint to keep their eyes open, the eyebrows tense up and create racoon-like shadows, and everything gets all washed out and flat. So break the rule. Keep the sun *behind* your subject to create a glowing rim around them. To light the front of them, you have a few choices… use a reflector (can be as simple as a white piece of paper) OR use your exposure compensation to OVERexpose, lighting your dark subject and blowing out the background for that dreamy effect. OR fill flash the subject.
This picture was taken in a back alley, with all brick walls, sun washing down the sides of the buildings. No reflectors, no flash.
Nikon D90 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 – Color is mostly SOOC. If you have it, try setting your WB to ‘Shade’ for a warmer picture.