Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tip: Look for leading lines

One of the first things I do when looking for a location to set up my camera for a shot is to search for anything which will create a strong line leading to the subject. It can be a fencerow, a shoreline, road or fence – anything that can help lead the viewer’s eye to the area of the picture in which the main subject resides.

The sunrise photo at the right employs a fence and roadway to lead the eye to the rising morning sun, while the shadows of the cows themselves in the photo below serve to act as leading lines.

Take some time to look through my photos on my photo blog, Points of Light, or at my photo site on Flickr and try to identify the photos where leading lines were used. Some are very obvious, while others are more subtle.

Photographs © 2006 James Jordan. Click on pictures to enlarge.

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Tip: Find a frame

You can add interest to a photograph by framing your subject on two or more sides of the picture. Trees, rocks, fences or other natural or man-made objects can offer a number of possibilities.

For example, while photographing the Cape Hatteras lighthouse on North Carolina’s outer banks, I squeezed myself into a wooded thicket at the edge of the clearing where the lighthouse stands and used the brush to frame the lighthouse.

In the case of the lower photograph, taken at the south rim of the Grand Canyon at twilight, two trees and an old fortress provide a frame for the deepening sky, the moon and the figure standing at the edge of the canyon.

Sometimes, finding a frame is a happy accident, so be on the lookout while scouting an area in which you are taking pictures. Other times will take some ingenuity and perseverance to create a framing effect.

Photographs © 2006 James Jordan. Click on pictures to enlarge.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Tip: Change your altitude

We go through the bulk of our days looking at everything from eye level – for most of us, about five feet above the ground. We’re just used to it. And most of the photographs people shoot are shot from the same altitude – five feet above ground.

Moving your camera out of the five-foot rut draws interest simply because your photo will offer a vantage point that most of us don’t experience all that often. So an easy way to add interest to your pictures is to change your altitude. Get up or get down – take pictures from up above your subject, or lower yourself (and your camera) as much as possible.

Try different levels when photographing a subject, then take note of those which you like, and more importantly, those that garner approving comments from people who view your photos.

Click on pictures to enlarge. Photographs © 2006 James Jordan

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