Why you need to look up


Or down. Or sideways. Or get on the floor. Or stand on a chair.

Do you like taking photographs, but find they always look the same? Or feel static and uninteresting? Or they didn't reflect what you saw in your mind's eye when you first took the picture?

Think back to any recent wedding you've attended, and the bride and groom is having their first dance. Is there not a papparazzi-like crowd standing on one side, arms outstretched with their cameras and phones, all at shoulder level? It's actually almost comical. Maybe you've even been one of those people.

We seem to have a natural tendency to simply stand as we are and place a camera up to our face or, these days, hold it straight out in front of us if using an lcd screen. So if most have a tendency to do this, and you do this, then guess what? Your photos will be no different from anyone else's, often static and simply not special.

It's such an easy thing to simply change your perspective. Hold the camera overhead and shoot down. Crouch and shoot up. Stand behind a plant and shoot through the leaves. Turn the camera at an angle (slight - no one wants to feel seasick!) Hold it vertically versus horizontally. Zoom or walk in, or walk further out.

We often think that we need to fit the whole scene that we see in front of us into the photo. So if it's a bride and groom, you feel you have to get them head to toe in the frame, without cutting anything out. I'd call that a passport style photo. It gives you the exact scene that you're looking at. This is it - a bride and groom dancing. 

When you alter your perspective, it naturally forces you to see the scene in a slightly different way. It makes you notice things you may not have otherwise. If you crouch down and take that same photo, you may find that you better capture the tilt of their heads that really shows how tender that moment is. Or, the soft touch of his hand on the small of her back, with a shiny new wedding band on it. Sometimes just a piece of the scene is enough to infer an emotion, a feeling. Keep your eyes peeled for the opportunities and be experimental. After all, there is no real penalty in shooting in digital.

Apply this to your family photography too; the shift in perspective adds a dynamic angle and all of a sudden you find yourself capturing more meaningful photos!



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