What is Head Room?

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In photography world 'Head Room' is referred to the empty space over the head of a subject within the picture frame. Headroom refers the distance between the top of the subject's head and the top of the frame. The terms that are related to head room are 'lead room' and 'nose room', both these terms refers to the space on both sides of the image. The amount of head room that is considered pleasing to the eye, depends on how most of the space is filled by the subject.

For best results, the rule of thumb to follow is to apply rule of thirds. In rule-of-thirds, the frame is divided into three equal horizontal parts and three equal vertical parts. The best way to decide the head room while photographing a person is to place him on either side of the frame positioning his eye on the point where the horizontal and vertical line intersect. Or if you are photographing any other subject ideally position it in one-third of the way down from the top of the frame.

As you zoom in or zoom out, the head room changes respectively. You must tilt up or tilt down the camera to keep up with the rule of thirds. This will help you keep the subject in on-third of the way down from the top of the frame. General principle is "the closer the subject, the lesser headroom is needed". In case of extreme closeups, head is generally out of the frame. However, the concept of headroom still applies via the rule of thirds.

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