Making the Hands Prominent When I shoot portraits, I like to include the subject’s hands in the composition. In fact, I just took a look through my portraits gallery and found that 4 out of 5 images there had at least part of a hand. Beyond just including the hands, though, I like to make them an important part of the picture. As you will notice, the images in this article do not look like wedding pictures or senior portraits. In such situations where you want your subject to look properly proportioned, you may not want to use the techniques I’ve outlined below. But, if you are going for more of a surreal look, prominent looking hands can really add visual interest to your portraits. Lens Choice If you’ve read any of my portrait articles, you will already know my lens choice. I shoot almost all of my portraits with a (somewhat) wide-angle lens... about 24mm. In fact, I’ve written an entire article 4
about this on pages 8-11 of the March 2016 Issue of Inspirational Photography. Control the Size of the Hands With a wide-angle lens, you can emphasize or de-emphasize the hands through careful positioning. This is because objects that are closer to your wide-angle appear larger than normal, while objects farther away appear smaller than normal. So, you can choose how large and prominent the subject’s hands are simply through their positioning relative to your lens. On the next page, the Malawian woman’s left hand was positioned close to the camera. She was leaning back slightly, helping to position her head farther away. Because of this, her hand looks big relative to her head. Although this looks unnatural, I think it works well for this picture.
Published on Feb 9, 2017
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