Adding Variety to Your Photos
It’s plain and simple: photography demands diversity! If you’re one who feels the best way to take good photos is to take many of them, you may only be partially right. I mean, what about variety? What about making your photos stand out from the crowd? Well, that’s where the following techniques could help make your pictures sing and dance. Let’s take a look!
So, you want to shoot at different focal lengths, but you hate going back and forth for the right angle. Well, why don’t you make use of the zoom lens then? That will not only help you frame your subject and the background the way you want it, but you won’t even have to move around to do it. This approach enables you to take pictures of a subject from far away or up close and personal. Even more, by moving your lens back and forth, you can also decide how you want to defocus the background or the other way round. It’s perfect if your subject is shy or you want to indulge in some candid photography.
Angling for a Difference
There has to be a certain thirst in you to make your pictures stand out! One way of doing that is to continuously think of shooting your subject at different angles. Now, you don’t have to stick to any rules, like keeping your subject off-center or shooting them at eye level to do that. You just have to shoot in a way that enhances the look and feel of your photo. Just remember, if you’re photographing someone who wants to look a little thinner in a picture, don’t ever make the mistake of taking it by getting on your knees or worse, by taking the picture at a really close distance. The best approach? Shoot from the side. Angles can make or break a shot!
The Format Matters
The rules of photography state that you should shoot by holding your camera either vertically or horizontally. I say, hold the camera any way you want and at whichever angle you want. That way, you get to custom-design your camera-hold, depending on your subject. If you want to capture a sunset, you don’t only have to stick to a horizontal format. Take a vertical one. Or, even take one diagonally. Simply add variety to your pictures. Plus, what’s the best part of doing that? You will get to enjoy the trial-and-error process!
Group Your Subjects
Sometimes the “likeness” of a picture can get to you. I mean, how many times can you keep shooting the same beach bum or the solitary beach bench? This is where grouping helps. Instead of just one beach bum, collect many of them and get your subjects to stand in the center. Then take the picture. Instead of one beach bench, go to a place where there are many more of them and take a picture there. Adding numbers to a picture makes it look definitively different and it also jazzes up your picture. Similarly, instead of focusing on one light, why not try three? Doing that gives your shot a sense of closure, just like in the photo below:
Sometimes it helps to take pictures while engaging the subject to add variety. For example, if you want to take a picture of a person at a coffee shop, you could ask them about their favorite topics and start shooting the moment they start answering. Now, just one exposure might not really guarantee that you’ve captured just the right mood and exposure. So, make use of the continuous exposure modes available on most cameras today. That way, you can keep your finger pressed on the trigger to take many frames in just one second. Also, after the first few shots, your subject will relax. Therefore, the last frames you end up with could very well contain the best expressions. This can work just as well for nature and wildlife photography. Take this ant picture, for instance:
It helps if you have a cooperative subject. In fact, it helps if you don’t shoot with your subject for the first 10 minutes or so. Just keep experimenting with them on different poses they can do and provoke them to move around all the time. By moving around your subject, you can get some great shots. This works especially well if you’re doing a series on one subject. You could take rapid shots of about 25 in under five minutes and presto, you have the subject’s expressions down pat!
Shoot in Different Modes
Look closely at your camera. With just a turn of the dial, many modes come into play. Those different modes offer you an opportunity to take pictures in different settings, such as a museum, fireworks, sports, night landscape, close-up, portrait and auto. Try taking pictures in all of those settings and then stick by the mode that serves you best. Try the modes for different subjects and different kinds of photography, whether it’s travel, wildlife, people or macro photography. After all, what the modes do is change the basic settings on your camera (like aperture, shutter speed, ISO) and those are precisely the features that can change the look and feel of your shot. The subject below was shot in different modes, but the one that worked best was the macro close-up mode:
Create a Story
It’s always best to shoot with a story in mind. If you want to project the imposing persona of your uncle who happens to be an officer in the Army, you could go down on your knees and take a picture of him staring at the camera. This angle will make him look imposing and intimidating. Now, ask him to shoulder a rifle and you have a story right there. In fact, if you are doing a sequence of shots on the same subject, be it a sunrise, sunset or a person, look for a beginning shot, a middle shot and an ending shot. By doing so, you will have created a movie with just still shots. Cool huh?!
Now, go on and add some variety to your photos!
~ Zahid H. Javali