That Time My Dad Asked Me Why I “Chop People’s Heads Off”

As I sometimes do, I called my dad the other day while on a long drive home from a session.  I guess recently, he saw one of my sessions and said “The photos were nice, but why do you chop people’s heads off.  Was the guy self conscious of his bald spot or something?”

I wasn’t sure what to say….. I resorted to saying “it’s just more creative that way…” and he replied “well, I guess so.”

It made me think…… and to be honest the longer version of that answer is that, as a photographer it’s my job to get the viewer’s eye to bounce around the photo to help tell the story of that moment.

For example:

Here is a shot from Caitlyn & Dan’s wedding shot in Kitchener-Waterloo at Chicopee Ski Resort.  They were married in a forest so there was plenty of greenery, it was a hot summer day and we did quite a bit of walking.  This photo shows ALL those things.  The greenery, the sunlight in the background, the bridesmaid carrying the flip-flops and of course Caitlyn’s amazing dress and all it’s ruffles.  I cropped it this way to focus on those points.  I could have shown the faces, but the story would be lost.


Another example is this shot from Maria & Scott’s wedding at Cobble Beach Resort in Owen Sound.  Cropping out their faces turns the focus to their hands, which are young and smooth and both wedding rings are visible.  For me, the bonus is the sparkle on her earing and his cufflink.  Also, this photo show the cute sweetheart cut of her dress, all details that might have been otherwise lost.


The same goes with family sessions, for example this personal favourite shot of Chrissy & Eric’s maternity session shot along the beaches of Hamilton.  This couple lives a very active life.  I shot their wedding 4 years ago and they are every bit in love now as they were then.  The way they held their hands is different from the couple above, because it’s how THEY decided to hold their hands.  For me, it shows how ready they are, how strong they are and how much this baby is loved.  Also, can we mention how perfect this baby bump is!?  The bump was the reason for the session, why not make it the focus of the shot?

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One more example of why I crop in below the face:

With this shot there was so much movement on this wedding day.  It was threatening rain all day (eventually it did rain… quite a bit actually) and Athena & Mark were coming out of the church fairly quickly after just getting married.  So much happened so quickly and I’m willing to bet they don’t even remember this shot, but if you look close you’ll see the steps they first came down as Mr. & Mrs., the shoes they wore, the fun ruffled tulle that was hidden under her dress during the ceremony, but mostly you will see that in the rush of everything Mark held Athena’s dress up to help her down the stairs.

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If I had pulled back and shot their faces and expressions, which I did and have also posted that below, the photo would tell a completely different story and you would have to look harder for those details.

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and there you have it my friends…. why I crop in tighter and as my dad says “cut people’s head’s off”.   It’s my job to tell the whole story the way I see it play out.  I see the big picture, but I also see the little details that matter just as much.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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