Have you ever thought “There’s nothing to photograph today!”? I’m going to help you out and get your creativity flowing. For one week I want you to focus on the unusual and use this article to perk you up and get you shooting. If you like you could even post your shots to the Hacking Photography Forum to inspire others.
So we all know about the basic rules of composition, if you need a refresher have a look at this article, this time I want to focus on variety. I want you to think outside the box and look for fun and creative ways to apply the following compositions.
Monday – Interesting angles
A wonky horizon has spoilt many shots and levelling it up is a simple way to polish your images. However intentionally shooting at an angle can turn a drab scene into something interesting.
I was drawn to this candid street scene with the brightly colored chairs and groups of people enjoying a coffee but it made a rather drab composition in the viewfinder. I knew I didn’t want to bring my camera up and level it so I went the other way and made sure my camera was at an angle.
We’ve all taken a shot of the local landscape and been disappointed when we got home. A lot of landscapes have nothing about them at all and get the response “So what?” By twisting my camera, slightly under exposing and getting close to the water’s surface I changed “So what” into “That’s different!”
Tuesday – Alien landscapes
Most of the time we rush through life seeing the same scenes in the same way. You can really grab your audience’s attention by showing them something familiar in a new and different way. All you need to do is stop, think and look.
Keeping a prop in your camera bag can get you out of a slump. If you really can’t see anything worth photographing get your prop out. Pose it in the best possible position, think about what you’re doing and get a shot that has both technical and fun elements.
Not the most glamourous of shots but undoubtedly not the style you see every day. Underwater cameras can open up a whole string of adventures, even if you’re like me and prefer just dipping your arms in the water.
Wednesday – Dramatic light
Silhouettes are simple shots to take and can turn a boring, hard to shoot, scene into something worth keeping. Expose for the bright light, in this case the sky, and with a little post processing you’ll get shots like this one. If you want more color in your sunset like this just under expose the scene and the sky will get that extra pop of color.
One light in a darkened room, that’s all it took to create this low key and emotive shot. The secret to getting a frame like this is to work slowly. Set your camera up and use a single continuous light source then get your model to move in and out of the light, changing their pose, until you get the balance between light and shade just how you want it.
Thursday – Repeating patterns
People like patterns, it’s as simple as that. By including a repeating pattern in your shot you immediately show something that people know and like.
Even these shopping trolleys have merit when you catch them at the right angle.
Nature won’t let you down when it comes to repeating patterns. Shoot from a distance or get close but try to fill the frame so there’s nothing else in the frame that might distract people. If there’s nothing around that takes your fancy try visiting a park or a local florist.
Friday – Up close and personal
Zoom lenses do a really good job of bringing things closer but legs help too. Use a mix of the two so you can take a shot that shows detail in an animal or bird that’s wild but happy to hang out with people. There’s no need for a hide and use a 600mm lens, just look for where people put food out for your subject and be patient.
Get in close, hunt your subject down with a magnifying glass then swap it for your camera. Remember, narrow apertures to keep the depth of field and plenty of light to keep a workable shutter speed.
Saturday – A bug’s view
We all view the world from ‘adult height’ the simple act of getting lower can grab your viewers imagination and add interest to your shots.
Looking up is easy but you need to offer clues about height and distance. By standing close to your subject you can enhance the perspective and give the feeling that what you’re shooting is far taller than it really is.
This is a very cliché shot. The temptation is to stand between the rails and shoot with them running straight down the center of the frame. Resist the urge and think about the composition, the content is already decided so you can make or break the shot with your composition. Stay safe please.
Sunday – Snap daily life
The most important photos may not always be the ones you’ve thought long and hard about. Snapshots can tell a story and trigger emotions and play a vital part in your photo collection. Have a look at Judy’s article on the importance of snapshots.
The big secret to this shot? – Having my camera in my hand to catch the shot without a lot of fuss or even asking them to pose. I saw the beauty of the situation and got the shot but it was really only possible because I had my camera in my hand and could frame it before they noticed and posed.
Taking photos should never be dull and neither should the finished shot. Next time you’re stuck in a rut I hope you think of this article. Grab your camera and get out there to take a week of fun shots to jump start you photography.