Advertising is likely the photographic field with the highest cashflow. Photobanks sell millions of photos of countless types each day. But in this article we won’t be discussing how to shoot for photobanks. Instead we’ll focus on the basics of composing commercial photos.
You see photos everywhere. Browse the web: you see photos. Open a newspaper: you see photos. Drive to work: you see billboards with smiling models… in photos. And that’s just the situation for normal people. It’s even worse for us photographers, who live and die for photos. So how can you pick good photos out of the flood of them you see each day?
People are among the most common subjects in photography. People in motion, people in poses, people on the street. And people are important in pictures even when they’re not the subject, by enlivening the picture or showing scale. But do you know what not to do when photographing people?
The standard formats (height/width ratios, also called aspect ratios) for photographs have evolved over time. But some formats have proven over time that they’re best left untouched, and so camera makers stick with them. So let’s take a look at the most common aspect ratios for digital images—these ratios are also the ones produced by digital cameras, and photo labs and photo frame manufacturers expect them.
Practically everybody out there is taking at least a few pictures these days, no matter whether it’s with a camera, a cell phone, a tablet, or another device. These photos are then pouring onto our social networks. And the people in them are carefully tagged, and yet meanwhile they’re often also robbed of their ankles or hair, or have stop signs, tree branches, etc. growing from their heads. These are all basic composition mistakes. And today I’ll help make sure you never have to make them again.