I gave a ‘tip’ on an episode of TWiP a while back that stressed how simply taking a step or two forwards/backwards/right/left can radically change the composition of a photo. So on my recent trip I took a quick photo example of exactly this.

The two images shown here were shot from locations that were about five feet apart. The one on the top was my first view of the subject as I got to the top of a little hill. I didn’t really like it much – the tree in the foreground pretty much obscures the two pieces of the castle ruins and it didn’t seem worth taking the photo. Taking a few steps backwards changed everything – the tree’s size and position relative to the ruins changed and at least there was now somewhat of a ‘point’ to the photo. (I then went back and took the shot from the original location, just so I could write this blogpost :-).

It’s worth noting that there’s not a significant vertical difference between the two positions I was shooting from – it might look like I climbed up a little hill but I didn’t – it’s purely a function of the change in perspective that distance gives you.

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Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. Great example. With my zoom lens I tend to forget I can move sometimes; it’s amazing what a little distance can do for perspective.

  2. Great example. With my zoom lens I tend to forget I can move sometimes; it’s amazing what a little distance can do for perspective.

  3. I still find the tree in the middle quite distracting in the second picture.

  4. I still find the tree in the middle quite distracting in the second picture.

  5. Another reason to have a nice lightweight tripod that you know how to quickly set up and collapse down. I also try and scout locations a little with my camera still in my bag, or take five to just look at the scenery before I get stuck into the camera. Or a pasty.

  6. Another reason to have a nice lightweight tripod that you know how to quickly set up and collapse down. I also try and scout locations a little with my camera still in my bag, or take five to just look at the scenery before I get stuck into the camera. Or a pasty.

  7. I also find the tree in the 2nd picture distracting, except now it is cut off so it’s not only distracting but somewhat poorly composed looking, the combination of that with the better exposure of the sky in the first picture had me questioning which picture was supposed to be the better one before reading the text.

  8. I also find the tree in the 2nd picture distracting, except now it is cut off so it’s not only distracting but somewhat poorly composed looking, the combination of that with the better exposure of the sky in the first picture had me questioning which picture was supposed to be the better one before reading the text.

  9. Just to reiterate the point of the post (since apparently it wasn’t clear to some of you) this wasn’t about how much _better_ the bottom image is, just that it is significantly _different_ from the 1st with very little change in shooting location. Clearly neither photo is an award-winner, and neither was even close to being considered for my ‘favorites’ from the trip (posted here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronbrinkmann/sets/72157605953021461/ )

  10. Just to reiterate the point of the post (since apparently it wasn’t clear to some of you) this wasn’t about how much _better_ the bottom image is, just that it is significantly _different_ from the 1st with very little change in shooting location. Clearly neither photo is an award-winner, and neither was even close to being considered for my ‘favorites’ from the trip (posted here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronbrinkmann/sets/72157605953021461/ )

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