Thank you to Kelly Moore Clark of Kelly Moore Photography for this amazing guest post on Changing Your Perspective. If you have questions for Kelly, please post them in the comment section on my blog (not Facebook) so she will see them and can answer them.
Perspective: Part 1
I’ve realized over the past few years that the hardest thing to teach someone is how to have a good eye. And really, I don’t want to teach people how to have my eye…after all, isn’t that what being a artist is all about , having your own take on something?? I do however like to talk to people about perspective. Perspective is so important!! Your perspective is what makes you unique, and sets you apart from the other 300 photographers in your town! When you give your clients their images, you want to have them hanging on your ever photo, anxious with anticipation at what the next image could be. As they turn the page, you want to give them something new and exciting to look at….and most importantly, you want to surprise them.
The only problem is that we get stuck. We limit ourselves by getting into a routine of standing in the same place, using the same lens, doing the same thing over and over, and like I’ve said before, there is nothing worse than a bored photographer.
In this post, I want to give you a few tips to help you to see things with a fresh perspective.
1. Don’t get stuck in one place.
If you give any average Joe a camera, how are they going to take the photo? Answer: They won’t move much. They’ll raise the camera to their eye and click. Ok, now think about where you stand when you photograph. I’m constantly trying to put myself somewhere unexpected. If my subject is high, I get low, if they are low, I’ll get high. I probably spend ½ of my time lying on the ground while I photograph. Why? Because people aren’t used to seeing that perspective. I’m constantly looking for places that I can climb to for a bird’s eye view. You want to constantly keep people guessing when they are looking at your work. Here is my mental checklist I go through as I’m shooting:
*** Get High….HIGHER!! Yeah, climb up in that tree.
*** Get in close….closer! Don’t be afraid to get up is someone’s business.
*** Now move back. Get a nice headshot.
*** Move back a little more.
*** A little more. Nice full length.
*** Let’s do another 360
*** Let’s go for a hike…..I call this the architectural or art print shot….where the client is in the shot, but they are just a piece of a larger beautiful image.
Yes, this is my random train of thought, but just by changing your perspective, you can get so many amazing shots….and you haven’t even moved your client or changed a lens yet!!
2. Don’t get stuck using one lens.
Lenses are the number one tool you can use to change your perspective. Each lens gives you the ability to completely change the way a photograph feels. I’m a huge believer in using prime lenses. I think they make you work harder. I think zoom lenses tend to make you lazy, you start moving your lens rather than your feet (I won’t even mention that prime lenses are sharper and just plain make a better image).
When you are using prime lenses, you actually have to decide which lens you are going to use next….and you have to ask yourself why. Are you going for an beautiful, formal shot, or are you wanting an “in your face, photojournalistic” shot? I’ve talked to way too many photographers that pull lenses out of their bag like they are pulling numbers for bingo! It’s so important to be purposeful when you choose your lenses. I’m going to post a few images below, notice the “feel” of the photo, and try to guess which lens I chose and why. I’ll give my explanation below each image.
Canon 24 1.4: I chose to go wide here because it was the only way I could be outside the room and still get all the guys in the frame. Also notice I was really low…I think this added to the drama of the moment. Notice that I used the door frame to frame this shot….always pay attention to your surroundings!
Canon 50 1.2: I think this one would have been great with the 85mm as well, but I was in a pretty small room. Sometimes we are limited by space, and we have to do the best we can with the situation given.
Canon 24 1.4: I chose the 24mm for this shot because it was so important to capture the environment, but I still wanted an up close, “in your face” feel. A wide angle lens is always great when you are wanting to get a photojournalistic, environmental photo.
3. Don’t get stuck in one pose:
I don’t think I need to expound much on this one….just remember to keep working with your clients to get new and creative poses. Remember, sometimes it doesn’t happen right away. Don’t be afraid to really work with your clients to find the “magic moment”.
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