Remember when you were younger and everything looked big to you? Your parents were like bronze statues, the tree in the front yard was as good as Everest, and if only you could reach the bag of leftover Halloween candy on top of the fridge… But when you grew up things weren’t nearly as impressive or unreachable (in the case of the candy) as they once were. Heck, now you’re the one tripping over little Ewoks darting around their parents’ ankles. So, what changed? Why has everything suddenly become so darn boring? The simple answer is: a change in perspective.
Having two kids of my own, I have gotten reacquainted with a child’s vantage point over the last several years. Our ten-month-old is a mast of finding the smallest items on the floor and under furniture (which he promptly eats). He’s like a bloody ninja CIA agent on acid! But, it’s because of his perspective. When you live your life proverbially six inches off the ground, you tend to notice things that adults don’t, and it fascinates the crap out of him!
So, how can you introduce that same kind of interest and fascination into your photography? Step back and examine what you are trying to capture and the message you want to communicate. Most everyone sees life five to six feet off the ground so don’t expect to “wow” them with a photo from their everyday perspective.
How do you remedy the situation? Here are four ways to introduce dynamic and interesting perspective into your photographs.
1. Shoot from Above
You see it a lot in advertising — people who appear as though they are leaning into a mirrored ball for a closer look at the spinach between their teeth. This look can be accomplished through post-processing in Photoshop or in-camera using a fisheye lens. But often a little height is all that’s required to add some interest to your photograph. So grab your step ladder, a picnic table, or the roof of your neighbor’s new Cadillac, and get to work!
2. Shoot from Behind
We are all used to seeing “the front” in life — we enter buildings at the front door, we hold in-person conversations face-to-face, and we even get married in the front of a church (generally). The same holds true in photography as well — all too often we are focused on capturing the facial expressions of our subject or the action as it’s coming our way. But many times there is a story that can be told from behind. Look for those opportunities, and take advantage of them.
3. Shoot from Down Low (the ground)
Probably one of my favorite perspectives takes you back to the basics, back to that child-like dimension where everything is grander. I have found that shooting from the ground not only produces some amazing photos, but it is downright (no pun intended) fun, too! Use Live View and a mirror to keep yourself from rubbing your face in the dirt, and you will be able to easily capture some stunning photos!
4. Shoot Alongside
Instead of broad-siding your subject (photographically-speaking), shoot alongside it for an elongated, dynamic perspective. That limo will look more elegant, that building will look more foreboding, and that fence row will look like it goes on for miles (especially if you live in Texas where everything quite literally goes on for miles).