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In this third installation of my fall photography adventures, I focus my camera on the Tamarack. I love how this tree turns golden yellow and illuminates the fall landscape of central Minnesota, and I often return to this subject because of it variation in every season. With that being said; how do you approach a subject you have photographed in the past with a unique perspective?
In this video, I take you through an exercise I employ when I want to tell a different story and develop my photographic eye. I like to shoot a single subject from several viewpoints to start telling a unique story.
Despite how easy it looks, photography is hard, with three learning curves to conquer: the technical aspects of the camera, the theory of light and shadows, and the actual composition of a photo (sometimes called "seeing the shot").
That last part is the hardest thing for beginners to grasp. Composition has an artsy component that can't be easily taught. It must be discovered by the photographer themselves.
Fortunately, there are photography exercises that can help "develop your photographic eye". And with practical experience being the only guaranteed way to understand composition, in this video I explore one exercise of photographing a subject 3 – 5 – 10 different ways.
Here's a common mistake made by newbies: always taking photos from the same height and from the same angle. It's natural to stand up straight and take snapshots from eye-level, but that's boring. After all, everyone knows what the world looks like from eye-level.
If you want your photos to be more compelling, change things up. Capture the world from unusual angles and positions: viewpoints that are foreign to most people.
This photography exercise helps train your sense of angles. First, find a subject. Any subject. It could be tamaracks, a stove-top kettle, a pet dog, a fire hydrant, or a herb garden. Anything works.
Then take 5 - 10 photos of it. No two photos should be alike. Try looking directly down at it. Then try looking directly up at it. Shift the angles. Look at the front of the subject, then the back, then the sides.
The possibilities are countless, and even the smallest tweaks to the angle can have a large impact on the resulting photo. Do this for hundreds of subjects, and you'll start seeing angles everywhere you go without even trying.
A selection of images from this video, now available in our print shop.
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