Why are there feet in the picture?


family photo with feet Let’s do a little photo analysis here, shall we? Notice the percentage of actual human being in the photograph above. Let’s say it’s 20%. Then notice the percentage of the photograph that’s the part of the human beings we care about the most— It’s their faces, right? So let’s say that’s 5%—and I think that’s being generous. I propose that the problem started when the decision was made to include the feet in the picture.

I am certainly not saying that you should never photograph feet. There are some wonderful foot photographs out there. (In fact, my good friend and photographer, Rich Frishman, did a legendary series of self portraits that were nothing BUT his feet. He called them “Footagraphs”. Absolutely fantastic.)

What I am saying is that if you are shooting a group shot, there needs to be a darn good reason for including the feet. More often than not, including the feet in group shots does some damage to the photograph.

I realize this is just another way of saying getting close to your subjects. But I want red warning lights going off in your brain and in your viewfinder if you see feet and shoes and we may as well include the lower halves of legs for that matter. If they don’t add anything, eliminate them. I have seen very few close-up photographs of four people and wondered what their shoes and socks looked like.

Remember, when you shoot your Christmas card photo this year you’re doing your viewers a big favor when you show them what everyone looks like this year. That’s their faces.


Feet. Who needs them? You still get the feeling of the wonderful fall day and a much better look at the people. If feet are in your picture they need to be there for a reason.

Nick Kelsh on Taking Better Photos and Preserving a Legacy

Quick Photo Tip: Get Close. Then Get Closer.