If you need to brush up on composition, here’s an invaluable resource:
I like this one, a reproduction of an old webpage, best:
And finally, why?
…and we end up with a pretty nice little portrait of my lovely wife Michele, in the midst of an avid conversation with one of our daughters. Bringing the image in close makes her eye, the focal point, off-center and about 1/3 of the way from the top and right upper corner, so that our eyes go to it naturally. It also gets rid of a lot of clutter. The counter top (the only thing I really planned about this otherwise casual shot) emphasizes the intensity of Michele’s gaze and concentration. Finally, getting rid of the visual clutter intensifies the effect even more, but does eliminate the sense of place. Some folks might prefer to leave the background alone. Some might even like the original better. What do you think?
All editing was done with Faststone Image Viewer, a free editing program. I didn’t use any fancy software on purpose, and this whole thing took about 20 minutes, including preparation and resizing of all three images. I didn’t even bother to do a really careful job with the cloning. A phone shot, and 20 minutes with free software. Composition is the name of the game in all successful images, whether photographic or done by hand.