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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> How to change up your photography -- the list
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02/10/2011 11:04:19 AM · #1
Ok. I need to break out of my mold (but slowly and careful, because it scares me!!)

I see the shot. I take the shot. I don't know how to change it up.

So I'm trying to compile a list, and I need your help. After I take my normal shot, I want to experiment with that shot and try to do other things with it. So I want to create a checklist. Things to try after I take the original shot.

Something like this (I'm adding things to it as people come up with brilliant ideas. If I don't add yours, it's probably because I already do it. :)

1. Take the planned shot.
2. Change the POV (I already try different angles on the same axis, but I forget lower and higher sometimes. so...)
a. shoot from below
b. shoot from above
3. Try b&w
4. what does it look like blurry?
5. Tilt the camera.
6. Change focal length to radically re-compose the scene.
7. Specifically with landscapes: try a vertical shot (and try a longer foal length with that)
8. A Zoomblur or spinblur can be interesting.
9. Try photographing the subject in an abstract mannner. This means rather than taking a photo of the subject, you are taking a photo of the shapes, textures, colors and the way the light plays off it.
10. Try different light angles. My old rule was only shoot with the sun on the back of my shoulders. Try the more creative sidelight or backlight. Silhouettes can be effective.
11. Try long exposures in low light. Our eyes see in real time. The camera can "see" using the extra dimension of time. Results can be surprising
12. Try sun stars or lamp stars with a small aperture.
13. Stare at your shot for 10 minutes. The longer you look, the more you see.
14. If the shot isn't interesting enough, you're not close enough. Get closer!
15. Take your shot - then look behind you.
16. Any shadows or reflections?
17. Look up.
18. Shoot from the hip (especially try this in street photography)
19. Read!

What other things could I experiment with after taking the original shot?

Message edited by author 2011-02-11 08:52:56.
02/10/2011 11:08:21 AM · #2
You've got a good list... I think about those things all the time!

Like you, sometimes I'm better at changing my viewpoint than other times and later wish I had taken the shot from a different perspective that would have been ever so much better.

Breaking out of the snapshot mold is a lifelong learning process. :)
02/10/2011 11:12:09 AM · #3
You sure you weren't separated from Penny at birth, Wendy?

Add to the list:

A. Change aperture and/or point-of-focus for different DOF
B. Change focal length to radically re-compose the scene.
C. Specifically with landscapes: try a vertical shot (and try a longer foal length with that)

R.
02/10/2011 11:12:57 AM · #4
A Zoomblur or spinblur can be interesting.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_915941.jpg

Try photographing the subject in an abstract mannner. This means rather than taking a photo of the subject, you are taking a photo of the shapes, textures, colors and the way the light plays off it.
02/10/2011 11:22:55 AM · #5
The light is everything.
1. Try different times of day. I used to have a policy of only shooting in the golden hours. Now I take on the challenge to photograph anytime of day (or night).
2. Try different light angles. My old rule was only shoot with the sun on the back of my shoulders. Try the more creative sidelight or backlight. Silhouettes can be effective.
3. Try long exposures in low light. Our eyes see in real time. The camera can "see" using the extra dimension of time. Results can be surprising
4. Try sun stars or lamp stars with a small aperture.
02/10/2011 11:23:51 AM · #6
Wendy, your list reminds me that I'll often take multiple photos of the same object or scene, changing aperture, ISO, speed... but only later I'll realize I didn't bother to walk around and shoot from a different direction entirely.
02/10/2011 11:41:23 AM · #7
Originally posted by Bear_Music:


A. Change aperture and/or point-of-focus for different DOF
B. Change focal length to radically re-compose the scene.
C. Specifically with landscapes: try a vertical shot (and try a longer foal length with that)

Super suggestions...
Changing aperture for DOF and focal length for both composition and DOF are things we don't think about enough yet can have a very dramatic impact on a scene.
02/10/2011 11:42:24 AM · #8
Cool suggestions! I'm adding them to the original list, so I have something I can print out and take with me.
02/10/2011 12:00:14 PM · #9
another adage I heard a long time ago, and it's stuck with me ever since. "if it's not interesting, you're not close enough". I've used this philosophy on days when I wanted to take some landscape shots, but was stuck shooting in the middle of the day when the light was too harsh, or in locations that are frankly a little boring. I use that time to take some macro landscapes, like the cool-looking algae on the rocks, or the patterns in the tree bark.

Get up close and personal!
02/10/2011 12:03:57 PM · #10
Originally posted by brownsm:

another adage I heard a long time ago, and it's stuck with me ever since. "if it's not interesting, you're not close enough". I've used this philosophy on days when I wanted to take some landscape shots, but was stuck shooting in the middle of the day when the light was too harsh,

Excellent suggestion for midday sun. Close in removes a lot of the problems associated with midday sun.

02/10/2011 12:18:16 PM · #11
One to add in regards to landscapes. Take you original shot. Then look behind you and and look for the next shot. A lot of times the second shot is better than what you originally planned.
02/10/2011 01:07:40 PM · #12
I read about this exercise in a book a while ago. I found it a pretty interesting way to force oneself to look at things differently. Here is the image, details are within:

Composition Study - Bird Bath
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_895349.jpg

ETA: By the way, the snow depth we received here in CT was over the height of the bird bath. When it rained and froze I was walking on top of the depth only to find myself standing right next to the top of this birdbath. :)

Message edited by author 2011-02-10 13:09:09.
02/10/2011 01:24:00 PM · #13
I once read, and utilize, the technique of just looking at the exact scene i want to shoot for at least 10 minutes. it is a longer time than it seems when you are just staring at something. Gives me a better idea of what it will look like as a still.
02/10/2011 01:59:54 PM · #14
ooh! -- more good ideas!

Any more ideas on getting artsy fartsy?

My plan is to put this into place for any shot I like. Get the shot I'm going for, but then don't give up there. Change it up. Make it funky. Make it different. Go wild.
02/10/2011 02:22:00 PM · #15
An exercise Freeman Patterson suggests is taking a hula hoop and throwing it down on the ground. That's where you get to shoot. In his workshops you have to fill a roll with images from within that circle. Funny how it gets you seeing things differently.
02/10/2011 03:23:45 PM · #16
Originally posted by vawendy:

Any more ideas on getting artsy fartsy?

Has anyone mentioned looking at shadows and reflections? Here are some I added to my faves within the last year:
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_912600.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_914278.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_905263.jpg

Just no bird shadows or bird reflections, 'kay?
02/10/2011 03:57:19 PM · #17
Using one prime lens for a period of time will definitely make you think about different perspectives. Say for instance only shooting with your 100mm 2.8 for a week or so, next week, only shoot with a 28mm lens.

If you only have zoom lenses force yourself to only use one lens at only one focal length for the entire week.

Message edited by author 2011-02-10 16:27:51.
02/10/2011 04:13:59 PM · #18
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:



Just no bird shadows or bird reflections, 'kay?


like this?

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_831497.jpg

or this

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_894873.jpg

:P
02/10/2011 04:22:01 PM · #19
Yea, like those.
02/10/2011 04:25:37 PM · #20
Just some food for thought...

I know you already have different perspective on your list, but think about this: When little kids go out and play, they always find things that we would never see because of their curiosity and their perspective to the ground (much shorter). Maybe taking some time to stand on your knees and look around would help you to see a "kidlike" perspective and maybe get an interesting shot.

I love the list you have gathered so far. It will be awesome to see your photo's become different because of it. (PLUS, I plan on "stealing" some of the ideas!)

02/10/2011 04:52:57 PM · #21
A "lesson" I used to use in my photography classes:

Hang the camera around your neck so it hangs at waist level. Use a bungee cord or some other device to stabilize it so it doesn't swing around. Mount a cable release. Set it at the hyperfocal distance with a moderately wide-angle lens.

Now walk around taking pictures.

This will promote a revelatory dawning-of-appreciation of how much difference a couple feet of height can make. As a sidenote, those Vivian Meier pictures were all taken with a waist-level, twin-lens reflex, so they illustrate this POV nicely. It's not radically different, not like crawling, but it's enough different to get you thinking.

And the other aspect of the exercise that's useful is that you have to deal with "intuitive framing", and once you start to get a feel for what your camera's seeing WITHOUT using a viewfinder, you'll find all sorts of unconscious avenues opening up.

Trust me.

R.
02/10/2011 05:13:54 PM · #22
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

A "lesson" I used to use in my photography classes:

Hang the camera around your neck so it hangs at waist level. Use a bungee cord or some other device to stabilize it so it doesn't swing around. Mount a cable release. Set it at the hyperfocal distance with a moderately wide-angle lens.

Now walk around taking pictures.

This will promote a revelatory dawning-of-appreciation of how much difference a couple feet of height can make. As a sidenote, those Vivian Meier pictures were all taken with a waist-level, twin-lens reflex, so they illustrate this POV nicely. It's not radically different, not like crawling, but it's enough different to get you thinking.

And the other aspect of the exercise that's useful is that you have to deal with "intuitive framing", and once you start to get a feel for what your camera's seeing WITHOUT using a viewfinder, you'll find all sorts of unconscious avenues opening up.

Trust me.

R.


I looked up hyperfocal length, and it varies dependent upon the fstop chosen. What type of hyperfocal length would you select for somewhere between 28 & 35mm?
02/10/2011 05:25:19 PM · #23
Originally posted by vawendy:


I looked up hyperfocal length, and it varies dependent upon the fstop chosen. What type of hyperfocal length would you select for somewhere between 28 & 35mm?


It's hyperfocal distance, and unfortunately a lot of modern lenses, especially those not designated as pro, don't have a marking for it on the focus ring.

Here's something to look at though.
http://www.dofmaster.com/charts.html
02/10/2011 05:28:52 PM · #24
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by vawendy:


I looked up hyperfocal length, and it varies dependent upon the fstop chosen. What type of hyperfocal length would you select for somewhere between 28 & 35mm?


It's hyperfocal distance, and unfortunately a lot of modern lenses, especially those not designated as pro, don't have a marking for it on the focus ring.

Here's something to look at though.
http://www.dofmaster.com/charts.html


That's the one I was perusing. However, it says to find the focal length of the lens, find your fstop and that tells you the hyperfocal length. But what fstop should I set for street photography? Do I want a really large hyperfocal length?
02/10/2011 05:34:35 PM · #25
Originally posted by vawendy:


That's the one I was perusing. However, it says to find the focal length of the lens, find your fstop and that tells you the hyperfocal length. But what fstop should I set for street photography? Do I want a really large hyperfocal length?


Well, in open daylight, you could go by the sunny 16 rule for selecting aperture. Say for instance f/16 at 1/200 at ISO 200. Wider lengths are more forgiving than longer lengths, so go with the lens zoomed out. Hyperfocal distance focusing is usually just short of focusing to infinity.
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