When I was first learning photography, I spent hours searching the internet, magazines, and books looking for little hints on how to improve my photographs. I studied photos and examined the perspective from which they were taken. I took classes and followed bloggers. I participated in weekly shooting challenges and organized my own personal projects. Every little bit I did made my camera feel a little more comfortable in my hand. Each time I shot, the controls became a little more natural to the touch. And bit by bit, I improved.
Do you wonder what little steps you could take to improve your personal photography? I thought it’d be fun to put a few tutorials together that might help new photographers, or anyone really, who might be looking for a fresh perspective when shooting. I’ve got some ideas, but for today I’m just going to share one.
This post isn’t for everyone. I get that. We all fall somewhere along the skill continuum from “brand new beginner” to “seasoned pro,” and as such, each of us needs something a little different to give us our next push. Maybe this is your gentle nudge forward. If so, read on…
Change Your Perspective
That’s it. Super simple. So often when we are first learning photography, we shoot to catch the scene in front of us. I want to challenge you to pause and think. Actually, go ahead and take the first shot as you normally would…THEN pause to think, ‘how can I change this up to make it better?’
GET HIGH or GET LOW
On a recent dreary day, I stopped at the local flower shop in town and picked up a small pink batch of Calandiva. I needed some shooting inspiration, so I brought it home and placed it in front of my window where I proceeded to shoot it from every possible angle.
Here are just a couple of the results of those ten minutes of shooting. The first is from up on my tiptoes, shooting straight down…and the second is from a shot while I was on my belly. Same flowers, different perspectives.
Here’s another example: shooting high…and shooting low. Both are good, ‘keeper’ photos, but they tell very different stories. One makes me anticipate little people voices nearby, while the other feels calm, and quiet. 🙂
MOVE YOUR FEET
Change the direction from which you are shooting. Have you paid attention to your background? Is there anything in it that’s distracting? Anything that you could easily eliminate IN CAMERA by moving your feet?
You can tell from this series of iPhone pictures that I immediately saw the car in my background and didn’t like it. My first step was to try to go higher (middle image), but I couldn’t get high enough to get rid of the tire. So, I moved my feet and walked over the other side of the girls. Voila, no distractions! 🙂
Here’s another example of moving your feet. During one of my 365 projects I took a photo of my very messy kitchen sink. The image on the left was one of my first shots, but I was immediately irritated by the patio umbrella (which I was not going to go outside to move) and the VERY dirty window. So, I moved my feet, eliminated both distractions, and like the final image much better. Easy peasy!
SIT STILL FOR A FEW MINUTES
Life is a rush. We all feel it. And honestly, we all miss some of the finer details because we forget to pause and take in our surroundings. So I challenge you to do just that. Find a spot, inside or outside, that will give you a little room to breathe, be calm, be undistracted by things that usually distract you, and stop. Actually set a timer if you have to. Give yourself five minutes to look around. Better yet, give yourself ten. What do you see that you didn’t notice before? Are there colors that you might have missed at first? Are there micro details that didn’t stand out to you when you first sat down? Use all the time. I’d love to hear about what you discovered! Here’s mine:
If this post has helped or challenged you, please leave me a quick comment. I’d LOVE to hear from you. Or, if you have any questions you’d like answered or have an idea for a tutorial you’d like me to consider writing, feel free to leave those thoughts as well.
Happy shooting, friends!!
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
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