Photo Tip: Do This to Get Way Better Portraits When You Ask a Stranger to Take Your Picture

How to have strangers frame pictures properly

Asking a stranger on the street to take your picture often leaves you shaking your head afterwards. That’s because, for some reason, most people seem to think the ideal portrait has you standing smack in the middle of the frame.

To solve this problem, photographer and Reddit user EMDX has come up with a very useful and simple little tip.

Before you hand your camera to the stranger, set your camera to spot-focus, put the focus dot where you want your face to be in the composition, and then tell the person taking your picture to, “put the dot on my face.”

That way, instead of the picture above, you get this:

How to have strangers frame pictures properly

It’s simple but effective. You know your face is what the camera will be focusing on, and you will no longer be centered in the frame.

(via Reddit)

Image credits: Photographs by EMDX and used with permission

  • PalaEksa Boloulours

    These are not two different pictures, there is only one shot, and the upper one was cropped to center the man. That’s the reason why we cannot see his knees any more, and that’s a pity. Or not.
    And by the way, have you ever heard of a real photographer ( we are among true photographers here, no ? ) taking selfies ?

  • Lorenzo

    why an unselfie on such an ugly square?

  • Jack B. Siegel

    Yes, I knew I would get these sorts of comments. “I am so wonderful because I am tolerant.” If, however, you are spending an hour and half setting up a photograph of a building that will involve stiching 12 photos together and LCC profile shots, sequencing becomes important. As I have said elsewhere in this thread I generally politely accommodate people. But I do recall several incidents where I asked if the person could wait two or three minutes so I could finish up what I was doing. I was called a MF (spelled out). So his shot is so important, but mine isn’t?

    It might interest you to know that this is a major issue for painters, and it is a topic that is regularly discussed–how to avoid the “I can’t draw a straight line,” or “My Aunt dabbles in painting.” The painters are far more united in their hate of the questions. They are thinking about values and underpainting and mixing colors and which pastel to use. They are in the zone and they don’t want to be bothered. Good photographers are in the zone, too. It is an intrusion, particularly because these are disposable pictures that will quickly be forgotten or deleted.

    Self-important? I would argue you don’t have much respect for your own craft.

  • Andrew Richardson

    I just came back from several weeks Paris and those damn selfie sticks were everywhere. After a week, it was all I could do to not break them on sight. Imagine being in the Louvre, trying to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, and having to fight your way through a mass of people waving those $&#@*!% sticks because they would rather have a selfie for instagram than take a few minutes to just enjoy the most famous painting in the world. Hate them.

    Disclaimer: they do have legitimate uses and can be very handy, they also drive me nuts.

  • Phil Hearing

    like duh