One thing I took away from journalism school is extreme wariness of posed photos. There’s something about composing your own shot (in many cases, not all obviously) that’s artificial in content and esoteric in their value. Like when the subject pretends not to notice the camera (but is clearly twisting his/her head and placing his/her hands just so). Or when everything about the image is Photoshopped, to the extent that even the subject doesn’t recognize his/her own self, or that the world is painted only in colors not its own.
So I like to keep my eye out for organic moments, a scene that comes about naturally without any prompting from the camera. Like when I spotted this couple kissing and embracing sans abandon next to Central Park, I just had to get the photo. Before they even had a chance to notice me there, I held my camera up high in the air, pointed it roughly toward them, and took the shot. That shutter shattered the fragility of the moment as they looked up and around to see where the sound had come from… but I got the shot. (We can discuss the ethics of this some other time.)
I walked away proud to have captured the magnetism between these two young lovers. But the photo was definitely going to need some work, given that I had Hail Mary-ed the composition of the photo and it wasn’t perfect in terms of focus and brightness either. That and I wasn’t sure how best to differentiate the couple from the background, which I just wish could have been blurred out more.
I know there are some photographers that will mess with depth of field in post, but I definitely draw the line when operations go anywhere past the basics like cropping and color balance.
Working within those confines, I knew what I had to work with. There was the affection between the couple. And there was the way the tree branches were framing them nicely.
I came up with two crops:
I also thought black and white might help to filter out some of the noise (i.e. leaves) behind the couple that were preventing them from really lifting up off the canvas. So:
When I published my photo to Instagram, I decided to go with the 2nd color option (where the couple is oriented right), but this was mostly because I’m not very well-versed in B&W and still don’t have a grasp of when to use black and white, as well as of edits specific to B&W photos. Of course, now, the day after I posted the Instagram version, I’m favoring the first B&W version instead.
What do you think? Which version looks best? Any other ideas on how to edit this photo?