Ken’s Tips On Your Pics: Watch the background

Aimee has sent in this charming photo of her daughter saying she had almost done editing it and could I give her any tips on how to edit it further.

Aimee's daughter

Aimee's daughter

Judging by the table and the Buzz Lightyear cup, I would guess that this pic was taken at a restaurant or diner. The fancy hat and the little finger on the other side of the table suggests that this might be a family outing or birthday party. Aimee’s daughter looks very happy and she has a wonderful smile that looks like it is full of recently acquired teeth. A lovely capture of a nice family photo.

Whatever Aimee has done with the editing looks fine but there are a couple of things that could have made this a stronger image. The first thing that my eye is drawn to in this photo is not the face but the cup in the background. There are too many object crossing over in the one place; the table, the scarf, the hat, the cup and the wall in the background. The fact that this is all happening so close to her eyes, usually the main focus in a portrait, is very distracting and confuses the viewer looking at it. Another slight distraction is the elastic band of the hat under Aimee’s chin and it took me a few seconds to work out  what it was, again distracting from what should be the main focus of attention – the face. When taking pictures always consider the background – especially when near the main subject.

The other problem with this pic is that the face is slightly out of focus. The point of focus in this pic is on her top and hat and again this draws attention to those areas and away from the face. When doing portraits it is almost always advisable to focus on the eyes.

Photoshop can help a little.

Photoshop can help a little.

These are problems that are difficult to improve with editing which is why it is important to get the composition right in the camera. Because of what can be done with digital photography, newcomers often get caught up with processing on the computer. Getting it right in the viewfinder is the Holy Grail of photography.

This comes through practise and Aimee, although quite new to photography, is very keen and I know will be working hard on her image making. I look forward to seeing how she develops in the future.

Hope this helps Aimee and if anyone has any ideas or comments that they would like to make then please do. Or if you would like any advice on a family photograph that you have taken, please post it on my Facebook Page or email it to me at:

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