Have you ever taken a picture and you were so focused on your subject that you didn’t notice anything else in your original 3D view of the world? Yeah, me too… If my friend happens to be standing in the middle of the room and there is something hanging on the wall behind her – say a deer head that is 10 feet away, I might not notice that item in the background when I snap the picture. But now, looking at the flattened 2D image – it’s all I see. Right there, on top of my poor unsuspecting subject’s head, in all their glory – are antlers! Has this happened to you? Or maybe it was a tree growing out of their head, or a plant sprouting from their arm, etc. This again, may seem like a no-brainer – but its pretty easy to forget to look for things like this when we’re just snapping away. And we don’t always notice those items because when we look at things in 3d, our eyes and brain know that the antlers are in fact 10 feet away, and not on my subject’s head. But when our 3d world gets compressed in a 2d image, things look a little different. The antler picture really did happen, but unfortunately I was unable to locate that picture (it’s pretty funny)… so here is an example from a more recent photo shoot.
In this first picture, I didn’t notice the stop sign right above my subject’s head. The stop sign was quite a good distance behind him, and as I tried to snap the picture quickly to get his fleeting smile – I didn’t really even notice the stop sign, or bother to take the time to reposition him or myself. The resulting image is not the most flattering with a big red dot on his head.
So my tip is this – when you are getting ready to take a picture and are holding the viewfinder, or display screen up to frame your shot…just do a quick glance around all areas of the picture (each corner and middle), as well as at and around your subject, to look for anything that may look like it is protruding from an area it shouldn’t. If you see such an item, either ask your subject to move a little, or move yourself to a different location/angle to get rid of the distraction. Simple, but effective, people. If, like me, you aren’t able to take the time to reposition and you end up with a stop sign on your head – all is not lost. A little photoshop magic (I used the clone tool) and wha-la, a decent image.
But trust me – it’s much easier to get it right in the camera. Oh, and the antlers? Well…they were most definitely an accident, but when others saw the picture, they turned out to be a hit – and then everyone wanted some Christmas antler pictures! Ha! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!