Perspective is the way you look at the things around you. Yes, a cable wire may just be that – a cable wire. But the fact that it is ordinary, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy as a subject for your photograph. This is where having a photographer’s perspective comes in handy!
The key to producing photos with unique perspective is to be open about your point of view. What are the techniques you can use to do this? Here’s a few:
- Take a moment to imagine your subject from different points of view and angles.
- Get low or move above your subject to see it from another angle making it seem big or small.
- Move away from the subject, or nearer to the subject to create a new perspective or to give the subject a bit of space.
- Stroll around your subject. There may be an unusual or interesting viewpoint you haven’t seen from where you’re standing.
- Work with the light source. Lighting can help you present your subject in ways you hadn’t thought of before.
Wishing everyone a refreshing weekend!
No “graphic photographs” do not have anything to do with adult themed images. Graphical photography is an image style that utilizes shape, geometry and color to resemble something that might be drawn or designed. Photographs that are considered graphic in nature have distinct curves & lines, color contrast and highlight geometry within a particular scene. It may sound more complex than it really is, as I’m sure you’ve seen photos everywhere that fit this description.
Finding and taking photographs with a strong graphic element takes an observant eye. Man-made objects such as machinery, architecture, roads, etc. are inherently great graphic photography subjects because they’re designed with geometry in mind by engineers, architects and civic planners. Nature subjects also have a strong geometric shape rooted in the molecular geometry of organic compounds like cellulose and inorganic compounds with crystalline structures like quartz. Whether your subject is made by man or nature if you add light, shadow and color plus follow the 5 tips below you have all the ingredients needed for a great graphic photos.
~Jim Goldstein from his article 5 Tips to Create Graphic Photographs
One of the easiest ways to change your perspective is to shoot from a higher vantage point. In other words, be prepared to get physical and do a little exercise climbing a mountain, ladder, tree, or just some steps When shooting above and looking down it’s almost as if you have a bird’s eye perspective of what is going on below. From a higher vantage point you can take great shots of parades, crowds, traffic or scenic valley views. The rewards of doing this are that ‘many’ other photographers are simply too lazy to ‘climb’ something. This is a travel photography tip that can’t be underestimated: putting in a bit of grunt work.
~Samuel Jeffery from his article Change Your Vantage Point
The picture below was taken at Baluarte, a seaside park in the tourist island province of Bohol in central Philippines. When I reviewed the picture in my computer, it was far from what I saw on that day. My picture was bland and boring. It had to undergo post-processing to highlight the colors and details to more or less approximate the actual scene. How do we go about capturing the realism of a scene when we first saw it?
Kimball Larsen shares some pointers in his article 10 Photography Tips To Better Capture What You See. They are the following:
1. Decide on a clear center of attention
2. Remember that your eye has a better dynamic range than your camera
3. Aperture control for DOF
4. Careful composition to either expand upon or contract the feel of the photo
5. Be ready – moments come and go quickly
6. Understand the exposure triangle
7. P is not for “Professional”
8. Pay attention to your light sources
9. Always check your camera settings
Again I suggest you go over the article and read Larsen’s descriptions on each tip. Giving thoughtful consideration to the above items will greatly improve our picture-taking. It helps elevate us to the level of a thinking photographer, deliberate and confident that our every shot will result in a faithful capture of what we saw. Happy shooting this weekend!
Even slight changes in subject approach can make significant differences in the effect of the picture.~Andreas Feininger
The height advantage doesn’t only apply in basketball, it is also much sought after in photography. We call it the vantage point. It is the perspective of altitude giving you a sweeping, broad field of vision. Street level shots are, well, ordinary because that’s the person’s normal perspective. That is why you see photographers hold their cameras above their head to get an alternative shot. The difference may just be a matter of inches but that will drastically change the point of view, and the framing of the subject. We have taken shots of sunrises and sunsets as part of a landscape, and usually without vantage point since the sun is over the horizon almost at street level. Unless you’re watching the sunset from atop of a building or mountain then that’s quite a another view. Now imagine a sunrise over the clouds at 30,000 feet. No don’t imagine it, its in the photo I took from an airplane’s window on an early morning flight to the province. The scene is almost surreal and magical with the textured, cotton-like bed of clouds in the foreground and the sun peering through in the background complete with the morning atmospheric haze. We don’t often take pictures like this which makes it special. Vantage point from mere inches to thousands of feet will change the view of an image. Let’s put it this way – be a soaring eagle and look out into the world around you. Because the outlook is different from a regular person’s eye-level view, an image taken from an elevated position will come out fresh, unique and interesting. So whenever possible, take advantage of height or altitude. In other words, just get high for that shot. Now going low or under is another viewpoint. And that’s for another post.
I’ll be out for two or three days. I’ll be going to Metro Manila to attend to some matters. The metropolitan capital of the Philippines is two hours north from where I reside. I probably won’t be blogging until this weekend. I hope I get through it. Like most of you, blogging for me has become a daily activity. A day seems incomplete without me posting something. But anyway I leave you with the photo above. Let’s always be inspired, creative and clicking. For us artists – writers, poets, photographers – its our way of life. Take care everyone!
The stairs in the picture lead down to a pedestrian underpass. I was at the bottom of the railing trying to frame it in perspective with the emptiness of the wall on the left and the stairs and part of the round opening on the right. From out of the peripheral of my right eye which was peering through the electronic viewfinder I saw people coming down the stairs. I pressed the shutter button then reviewed the shot on the camera’s screen. Good one, I thought. Later at home I went over the shots of the photo walk of the day and found out, looking at that particular shot in the computer’s LCD screen, that I had a bonus. The people’s reflections were on the chrome railing. I expected a good shot, which I got but never expected an incentive, which further provided an interesting element in the picture. Expecting The Unexpected is the first in the seven-part series of articles by photographer Harold Davis from his column titled Becoming a More Creative Photographer. In the first article, Davis open it up with this: “Life is full of surprises. The best photography is not sterile and removed from life because compelling photography takes advantage of the serendipitous and messy nature of the world. If you are prepared, and expecting the unexpected, your photography will be more creative, imaginative, and richer than if you are rigid in the way you see the world, and in how you go about taking photographs.” He further states that there is no recipe for creativity, and that it “starts by seeing things for what they really are; you need to look beyond what you expect to see.” I suggest you set aside some time and go over all the articles in this excellent and insightful series. The bottom line is that there is no set rules when it comes to creativity, but understanding the techniques, knowing what your camera can do, being prepared and on the look out, and being open to possibilities, can sometimes produce unexpected but remarkable results.
The picture on the right was taken at a lake. I was probably half a kilometer away. The whole lakeshore vista was filled with boats and numerous fish pens. From a distance I saw this canoe and zooming in with my telephoto lens I saw a man and a child. Quickly, I had to isolate other distracting subjects. Further zooming in I was able to include in the frame only a part of the fish pen and the canoe and its passengers. I liked the result. For DSLR users without an all-in-one 18-200mm lens, they usually have an extra, dedicated telephoto zoom lens for shots like the one I’ve mentioned. Powerful digital compacts and point and shoot cameras nowadays have from 10x up to 50x optical zoom. In 35mm terms, 50x is equivalent to a staggering 1200mm in zooming power. A separate DSLR lens with that capability will cost thousands of dollars. A built-in telephoto will more or less do the job without “breaking the bank.” What is the importance of being able to zoom in from great distances? Not all photographic situations allow us to physically move in and get close to our subjects. We’ve tackled the topic “filling the frame” in a previous post. That is the ideal shot, get close or zoom in to have the subject fill the camera’s frame, isolate distracting elements that do not contribute to the point of interest, and to highlight the subject. What are the practical applications of zoom lens? If you are into wildlife photography, its critical. You cannot get close to birds, bears, lions, elephants and other wild beasts. There is no point in approaching them or disturbing them in their natural activity and habitat, for your own sake. You are an intruder in their territory. Your zoom lens will do the job of capturing them up close, hopefully without them knowing it. What are the creative applications? As I mentioned earlier, being able to isolate your subject and eliminate unessential elements in the frame without you getting personally up close (probably because of natural barriers like a body of water) is in the capability of your telephoto lens. With such feature, you have a wide berth of playing and adjusting your composition, as I did with the picture above. Photographer David Peterson who is also founder of online site Digital Photo Secrets, gives an informative overview in his article When and How to use a Telephoto Zoom Lens. In it, he explains the types of zoom lens, how to use them, and things to consider when using them. I have said before that its not the gear but the photographer who creates images. But sometimes creativity is aided when we have the right equipment to pursue it.
For a subject to be strong enough to be worth photographing, the relationship of its forms must be rigorously established. Composition starts when you situate your camera in space in relation to the object. For me, photography is the exploration in reality of the rhythm of surfaces, lines, or values; the eye carves out its subject, and the camera has only to do its work.~Henri Cartier-Bresson
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!
Book Excerpt: “I think that “trying hard” is probably the worst thing you can do as a photographer. I don’t mean you shouldn’t be careful, but rather that the harder you look for a good photograph, the less likely it is you will find one…What if, instead of hunting for great images, you were to go out looking for things that interest you?…What I’m trying to say is that the interest usually precedes the finding of the photograph, and that what we should be looking for is not the photographable but the interesting, and I don’t think they are the same thing at all.”~George Barr, Take Your Photography to the Next Level
I stand still or move slowly, feeling things like the impulse of shapes, the direction of lines, the quality of surfaces…Nothing that one could reasonably call thinking is taking place at this stage. The condition is total absorption…~Aaron Siskind (Photo location: Postal Building, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
You learn to see by practice. It’s just like playing tennis, you get better the more you play. The more you look around at things, the more you see. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.~Eliot Porter (Photo location: Barobo town, Surigao del Sur)
First and foremost, make it an obvious picture of color! Rather than looking for rocks, leaves, trees, waterfalls, birds, flowers, fire hydrants, starfish, boats, orchards, or bridges, focus your energy and vision on red, blue, yellow, orange, green, or violet. Color first, content second!~Bryan Peterson
Of course it’s all luck.~Henri Cartier-Bresson (Photo location: Tacloban City Sangyaw Festival)
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera…they are made with the eye, heart and head.~Henri Cartier-Bresson (Photo location: City of Manila)
When your mouth drops open, click the shutter.~Harold Feinstein (Photo location: Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte province)
Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today.~Edward Abbey (Photo location: Batangas City)
It’s all in the eyes. We have stereoscopic vision that’s why we perceive perspective and depth. You know the vanishing lines, the patterns and layers, the depth and distance our eyes see everyday. Taking advantage of these perspectives make for interesting photos. There are more samples of this kind of shots together with some nifty tips in the article Maximizing Depth and Perspective in Your Photography. We must train our eyes to be aware of our surrounding and to look out for details. After all, there is a saying that our most important photographic equipment is our eyes. (Photo location: Guimbal town, Iloilo province)
Patterns are all around us. Finding patterns is a matter of practice. Together with perspectives, lines, shapes, angles, contours and colors, they provide dramatic elements to an image. They draw the eye to the picture, produce a certain feel, and make for an interesting visual display. I found this concise and informative article from PhotoTuts titled A 10 Step Guide to Understanding and Utilizing Pattern. Follow it and create interesting and striking images. (Photo location: San Juanico Bridge, Tacloban City, Leyte province)