It is surprising how often it is that when we are out making photographic images we turn what could be an special shot into what critics call a ‘record shot’. What we are doing is creating an image that anyone in our position would or could see for themselves if they were to look at our subject. For it not to be a record shot it should be something people would not normally see on their own without some special thought or effort.
The most common mistake we make in this situation is shooting fr normal standing height. Almost everyone sees the world like this. Nothing special or surprising here. By changing to an unusual height or angle we can change the image completely. An image taken from close to the ground, from high up, or deliberately at the source of leading lines in the scene can produce something far more unusual, interesting, and expressive.
Here are some suggestions for creating the less usual in our images:
- Shoot from on or close to the ground, using a small aperture for a long depth of field.
- Shoot from very close to a reflective surface such as a puddle or shiny glass, capturing your subject in the reflection.
- Shoot from the sea back towards land, not just in the direction you are travelling.
- Shoot from high above your terrain. We shall see more and more drones used for this. On local car excursions you may want to bring a stepladder for some special shots. Many a wedding has benefitted from this handy device.
- Shoot from below looking upwards. With no horizon to worry about the opportunities for something unusual are increased significantly;
- Find a spot where there are leading lines to your distant subject. Your image will be improved and more interesting as a result.
- Underwater shots, macro shots, large panoramas, and story-telling nature shots will all have their special features to distinguish themselves from everyday record shots.
- Keep looking to add to this list, and ask yourself, when tempted to take the everyday, full standing height snap; whether there isn’t a better, more interesting way.