Feb 2, 2009

If you want more interesting photos....

In The Moment it Clicks, Joe McNally quotes another National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson...
"If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff." That seems simple enough, but finding the "more interesting stuff" can be downright difficult when you are taking family photos.

The fix? If you can't change to a more interesting subject, do something to make the subject more interesting. Taking photos from normal eye-level vantage points, in normal places to stand can result in very average shots. Moving the camera to a viewpoint that isn't normally seen creates a visual that holds interest.

This is a normal snapshot of my niece on the floor counting Easter eggs... not a bad snapshot, but still, nothing to it.
Canon 40D, 17-85mm, f4.5, 1/60, iso200, flash on

Drop down to kid level though, and and there is more visual interest...
Canon 40D, 17-85mm, f4, 1/60, iso200, flash on

Looking at anything from an unusual angle makes it more interesting.

Ballet from above...
Canon 1D mkII, 50mm, f3.2, 1/200, iso 800,

The business end of a knife
Canon 40D, 17-85mm, f7.1, 1/80

How about looking up at a fire hydrant?
Skyline plus 1
Canon 40D, 17-85mm, f4, 1/5,

Taking pictures from eye-level is automatic. Thinking of a more interesting angle makes it better.

If you don't get to choose "more interesting stuff," choose to shoot your mundane stuff in a more interesting way.

Final note.. if you want to see what goes through the head of a top shooter, check out the book I quoted at the top of the post. From National Geographic to Sports Illustrated, Joe McNally is one of the best. Add a big dose of humor and inspiration and that is this book.

don j.

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