"Behind Bars"

by Wendell S J Reyes
(Trinidad, West Indies)

"Behind Bars"

Hello everyone, I took this pic of an old friend of mine.

I tried to make him appear to be behind bars, with a slightly eerie feel. But he had a smirk on his face and it kind of took away from what I was trying to accomplish, and he was moving around the whole time as well.

Being an amateur now getting around to trying stuff out with my Nikon D90 a new world of photography for me.

Besides that, I am learning a lot from this site and it gets 3 thumbs up from me!

What do you think could be done to "improve the effect" of the photo?

Focal Length 105mm
ISO 800
Aperture F8
Shutter 1/40s

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Ahh, the classic put-your-friend-behind-bars-and-pretend-they-are-in-prison shot. It has to be in the top ten 'must have' photos of all time. Along with other classics such as the holding-up-the-leaning-building (think Tower of Pisa) and the pyramid-on-the-head (think Giza) shots.

In fact, I even got my wife to take a photo of me behind some suitable bars in Havanna. I have yet to work out why she gets so much joy from it being used as her desktop wallpaper...

But back to Wendell's photo. Yes it's a classic, and I think it looks great. And of course there are ways to improve it a little. So, what would make this 'inmate' shot a better photo?

My first thoughts, with almost any photo, are with regard to the composition. The rule of thirds always makes a good yardstick for photos. But, remember, rules are made to be broken.

In Wendell's photo I would suggest keeping his friend in the middle of the photo (at the moment he's too far to the left of the frame).

Another generally accepted rule for decent photos is to get in close on your subject. Learning how to crop a photo can really make a difference to the composition. Wendell has gotten in close to his subject, but for my money I think a little too close. A bit more space around his friend's face would have given us more of the bars, and would enhance the effect he was looking for.

My final composition tip involves the shooting angle. This is one of those photos where a completely face on shooting sngle would work best. Wendell's is close, but there is a bit of an angle there (picky me!).

The only other tip I would offer her relates to the focussing. With things like bars in front of your main subject it is difficult for cameras' autofocus to know exactly what you want to focus on – the bars, or the face?

A smaller aperture will ensure that both stay in focus as you will have greater depth of field.

But you know what, I reckon your friend is happy with this photo. Thanks for the submission Wendell,


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