Photography is an Activity, Get Up and Explore!

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In this post for Maynard’s photography tips, we are going to be talking about exploring a subject. There are plenty of times when our first shot is not the best shot, so we need to learn that it’s okay to shoot your subject from multiple angles and vantage points. This is what’s great about digital photography, you have nearly limitless film. When I first learned photography with a film camera you had 10 exposures or 24 exposures and you treated each one as if it were your last. I remember walking around looking for things to take photos of and then pausing and asking myself, was it worth one of my precious frames; thankfully those days are over. The point is, it’s OK to experiment, hell it is encouraged. If you need a refresher or you missed either of the first two articles you can check out the one regarding manual controls here, and taking your composition by the reins here.

I have noticed that there is literally a photo stance these days, your camera held at eye level about 8 inches from your face standing straight up. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of great photos have been taken from this position. What is great about being a photographer is this is your chance to interact with your surroundings, with people, with your subject. Let’s learn how to have fun with photography by making in an activity, photography is an active hobby; so let’s be active!

One of the easiest things to do is change that photography stance. Try putting that camera up as high as you can reach and taking the shot or kneel down and change the perspective altogether. Let’s practice. Take that first photo in the natural photo stance, then take three more photos and force yourself to do something different, to look at it from a different angle. Then compare those photos and see what you think, maybe the straightforward shot is the best one for that subject and maybe it’s not. As we discussed in our composition article, think about what it is that caught your eye, and then think about what’s the best way to showcase that thing.

Car while holding the camera above my head.

Car while holding the camera above my head.

Car while holding the camera at eye level.

Car while holding the camera at eye level.

Car while bending down midway.

Car while bending down midway.

Car while kneeling down.

Car while kneeling down.

For my example I took some photos of a car we all found while walking in an alley close to our house. It’s a stationary object in a space I have no control over. It became my mission to move around and figure out the best way to capture it. I spent about 10 minutes walking around the car and trying to take different photos from alternate vantage points, just to see if there was something hidden there waiting to be discovered. Some of the subtle differences between your photographs may not be apparent in that 3 inch screen on your camera, but when you look at them later on your computer I think you’re going to notice some real differences.

Car from Angle One.

Car from Angle One.

Car from Angle Two.

Car from Angle Two.

Car from Angle Three.

Car from Angle Three.

Car from Angle Four.

Car from Angle Four.

You might not get 10 minutes alone with every subject, sometimes you may only have a few seconds to take a photo and the purpose of this exercise is to get you take the best photo with whatever time you have. So go out there and explore, experiment and above all have fun!

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  1. I too remember the days of film and having to wait to see if you got the shot as well. I use a DSLR and still put it up to my eye to see the picture. Kneeling and looking up are great perspectives.

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