Look behind you! (Made ya look!)

(Made ya look!)

Ok, seriously, it’s one of the mantras I drill into people’s heads when I’m helping them learn how to make great images: Always look behind you. And to the left. And to the right. And up and down. Starting to see where I’m going here? Grin. Learn from my mistakes: I’ve missed a number of wonderful (or interesting, or funny, or unusual) compositions because I stayed in one place, one position, and took many frames of the same or similar subjects. Once I got into the habit of turning in all directions, I was treated to many wonderful and unexpected scenes.

If you have more than one lens, try the same composition with other lens(es). You’ll see a totally different perspective. If you have a camera with one lens and a zoom, try the same scene at the closest and farthest ends of the zoom. At the closer end you may catch details you might have missed before. At the farther end, you may tell the story more effectively by showing more of the environment around your subject. Move closer to your subject physically, if you can. Then move further away. Work the scene! Turn your camera to the portrait (vertical) orientation instead of the typical landscape (horizontal) orientation. Even hold your camera at an angle! You don’t have to “settle” for what you see the moment you put your eye to the viewfinder or LCD. Make it work for you. Make magic!

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~ by Karen Rosenblum on October 5, 2010.

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