One of the questions or comments that I hear most about my work has to do with the composition of my photographs. Usually it is more like “How do you shoot with such unique angles?”, “I would love to learn how you set up an image”, or some use the term framing. Usually in some way shape or form, that topic comes up in conversations about shooting, or my work in general.
Most people don’t know that my background is in fine art and photography…. you know that whole formal education thing. Wow, I just sounded like a snob, I’m not I promise. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t shout from the roof tops about my education or that I “learned in a dark room” is because I really feel like my formal training has little to do with my success as a photographer. There are plenty of amazing photographers without the formal training; and there are plenty with it, that act like their piece of paper makes them better. Shoooooot!
Honestly, I DO think that my background in art has made forming compositions in my photographs come more naturally to me yes. But that is just one component. Just one piece of the puzzle. So yes one of my trade-marks, or strengths in my work, I can thank to all those years of art classes. BUT guess what, you can totally adapt and learn that stuff too. I’m going to share a few easy tips today on how I shoot with angles in my photographs.
The Love Theory
I’m totally making up these names hehe…. Maybe it will make it little easier to remember. This image is from my FIRST year in business….. yowza, I still love it though!
SO when we shoot something that has words (big or small), we initially think we have to shoot it straight on…. when in fact, it is way more interesting to shoot it at an angle. Imply the word, don’t just tell it. Trust me, brains are happier when they have to be worked just a tad!
Love your surroundings
I was taught in school that we should always repeat elements in our artwork. Not necessarily over and over or all the same size, but vary the size and shape, don’t be afraid to make it subtle or bold, but find some common ground.
I try to find things in nature that can mimic my subject or visa versa.
Showing off two things at once
Sometimes as photographers we want to show off two things at once, even if it is not extremely obvious. So of course I wanted a photograph of this beautiful bride, but I also wanted the beautiful table-scapes to make up the background. Shooting this straight on would not have the same effect. I had to adjust my height to fit more than one table in the shot, and using the rule of thirds to balance out my subject with the background.
Using lines to create depth
I love using harsh diagonal lines to create depth in images. It takes the viewers eyes on a little journey and sometimes can land them right on the adorable Groom-to-be’s sweet smile. A little softness in the foreground helps balance the strong lines. Opposites attract.
Taking it all in
I love giving a little breathing room in my images. Yes we want the beautiful couple featured, but a beautiful setting only makes it more magical. Sometimes I may circle the couple 5 times before I get exactly what I want. Lines that point to them, textures, and just the right amount of space around them to create that framing effect or breathing room. One my couples once said “you made it look like we were on a cloud from heaven” LOL! Well I would like to think that’s the extra space, and allowing a moment captured to be exactly that; just in its best recreation. I will do whatever it takes….sometimes that means laying on my belly, or just a deep ninja squat, but the angle that we are with the camera can change everything. So I tend to move myself more than I move my subject. It takes time circling and stalking your prey to get it just right 🙂