Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Photography - Composition Part 2 ( Changing Perspective)

Change perspective

The classic way to shoot a cityscape: in landscape format. The dominant element’s been placed dead centre, but it’s a cluttered image, and loses some of its impact as a result.

By changing shooting position, zooming in on the most significant part of the scene and using a portrait format to emphasise the height of the buildings, we get a more vibrant image.

Your choice of lens focal length plays a vital role in how you capture the world. Wide-angle lenses (anything from around 28mm and below) exaggerate perspective, while telephoto lenses (100mm and above) compress it, and each has pros and cons when it comes to composition. A wide-angle lens (or the wide end of a zoom) takes in a much bigger view of the world. It’s relatively easy to get dramatic shots by tilting the lens up or down to take in more of an exciting sky or detailed foreground without shifting your position too much; however, it becomes much harder to isolate interesting parts of the scene in front of you. Telephoto lenses can help reduce a scene to its most important elements. Don’t feel that you should take a picture from the same position as with a wide-angle lens though…

Don’t be afraid to move

One of the greatest aids to composition is a tripod; it slows your shooting speed down, and makes you consider the scene in front of you with a little more care. But don’t lock your camera on it until you’ve decided on the best angle to shoot from – it can be tempting to stay anchored in one spot. Equally, don’t always settle for the first angle you choose. You don’t necessarily have to move metres or miles – even shifting your camera a couple of inches can have a considerable effect. Think also about the height that you’re shooting from. We’re used to viewing the world from head height, so by lowering or raising your viewpoint significantly – by getting down on your knees, lying on the ground or raising your tripod to its full height – you can create a greater sense of interest. Shots of children and animals benefit greatly if you get down to their eye level; it creates a much greater sense of intimacy, if that’s what you’re trying to capture.

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