Changing Your Approach

If you want to give your photos a different look than the casual snapshooter, you need to approach a scene differently than them.  We're not talking fancy equipment here.  You just need to adjust your techniques.  Here are several ways to take the next step to improve the quality of your photos. A simple way to get a different look is to change your position to the subject.

Shooting with different positions

The first flower is taken standing upright, the way most would take the picture.  The second is much closer to the level of the flowers.

Lily from a standing position

Lily from a prone shooting position

The lower angle can make such a small difference, the viewer won't even think about why your photo looks different.  Or you can make it obvious that you've taken the photo at an unusual angle.

Ostrich from up close

Break a rule of thirds, and put a subject in the dead center of the frame.  It helps if the subject is symmetrical and strong enough to catch the viewer's eye.  What could be more powerful than a battleship?

Battleship in Norfolk, Va

Put some kind of framing element around the edges.  This can be almost anything to direct your viewer's eye into the key element of the photo.  It doesn't have to be a complete frame; a partial frame will still direct your viewer's eyes.   I like to find something that seems natural to whatever scene your shooting - stage lights in a concert; buildings in an urban scene; or rocks in a park to frame the distant glacier.

Window Rocks, in Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward, Alaska

Instead of trying to capture the whole subject, focus on just a portion of it.  Bring in enough of the subject, and your viewer will create the rest of the image with his imagination.   It's a subconscious reaction for most folks.  I very rarely get questioned about why I didn't shoot the whole flower or car.

pink carnation

Model T Ford from a photowalk

We've talked in other blogs about the joys of abstract photos.  Concentrate on shapes and patterns.  Again, you may want to just take part of the whole subject.  You can leave viewers guessing as to the identity of the real object.  A carefully placed interruption to the patterns can also make an interesting shot.

abstract of a water tower

abstract lamp from Fairbanks, Alaska

So, get out there and change your approach.  It can help you take more compelling shots that look different than most.  The more you practice with your photos, the more automatic it becomes.  And, you'll have more fun making them.