There is something to be said for taking the time to really explore a subject. Whether it’s a person for a portrait shoot, flowers for macro photography or one of your favorite architectural structures. It could even be something as simple as a pencil. 

Set a time limit

I wouldn’t normally suggest a time limit for creating images, but as we all know and have read here at Photofocus before, limiting yourself is a great way to learn. Recently I had about an hour to spend at this pavilion designed by architect Jeanne Gang. I took my time and spent it really walking around, looking for compositions, where the light was hitting and what unique captures I could create.

Get all the angles of your subject

Seriously. Take any and all angles you can. Don’t be afraid to put your camera on the surface of whatever it is you are photographing (as long as you’re able to). Hold your camera up high, put it on the ground, lay on the ground, you get the idea.

Don’t stop yourself from taking a shot, take it and see what it looks like, then adjust if it isn’t quite right. Don’t forget to also step back from the subject and create some wider angles and of course, get in close as well. 

Try different lenses and focal lengths

I tend to use my Tamron 100-400mm lens more than any other lens I have. Why? It allows me to change what is in my frame pretty easily. Focusing on the details is just another way to create unique images of your subject. Going with a wide shot will give your subject context of where it might be or what the surroundings are.

Pencil examples

These images are from a few of our Photofocus Community members. The challenge was to grab a pencil or pen and photograph it in as many ways as they could think of. They were challenged to think outside of the norm and be creative.

What you’ll learn from doing this

What this exercise will do is get you to think more about how you can photograph something so ordinary as a writing instrument. It helps you expand your photographic thought process and the next time you are out shooting whatever it is you normally photograph, you’ll stop and think about that pen/pencil. 

You will — trust me. Then you’ll stop and be much more thoughtful and deliberate about what you are photographing. You’ll start looking at and seeing new compositions and ways to create more unique and personal images.