Happy New Year – I wanted to be sure to start 2009 with a tip so here it is.
I made this image in Alaska. I liked the reflection from the seal and decided to use the leading line to draw the viewer’s eye into the picture and directly to the subject.
Reflections can be strong compositional elements in a photo in addition to just being pretty to look at.
Let’s talk about leading lines. You can use leading lines to bring the viewer’s eye into the picture. In the example above, I use the ladders and rails to bring the viewer into and eventually out of the photo. Since I think all good photos should have the same traits of a good story, i.e., a beginning, a middle and an end, I like to use lines, especially leading lines, to draw the viewer in.
Roads are especially good subjects when you want to use leading lines. This simple shot of telephone polls in Washington’s Palouse country is made interesting by the leading line of the dirt road.
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.
This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store