To be more creative, and to learn how to have more child-like delight in photography, LOOK UP!
London, NYC, Kyoto, Tokyo:
See the streets from the perspective of a child
We always keep our eyes at street level.
I think all photographers would benefit by looking up more often.
1. What is in the sky?
By looking up, you just see more things you might over-look, like airplanes passing you.
Or, you might miss out on beautiful clouds and sunsets.
2. Unique perspective
Another mistake we make in photography:
We keep hunting for very extraordinary subjects or scenes, and pass up ordinary scenes.
I think photography is more interesting when we identify ordinary scenes, and we make the ordinary scene or subject look more interesting, by transforming it through unique composition or perspective.
For example, getting close to a wall, and making photos just looking up. This is why I like architecture photography — both for the back workout (like doing yoga stretches), but having that child-like sense of wonder, looking up. Because when you are a child, you’re always looking up.
For example, while in Kyoto, I saw this car on a lift:
Shot from far-away, it is an OK photo.
But, it gets much more interesting when you get close to it, and shoot from a more unusual perspective — directly beneath. Because we rarely see the underneath of a car (unless you’re a mechanic):
Or get at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and photograph your subject, looking up — for a more dynamic perspective:
3. Get on the ground, and shoot up
Another idea to make better photos looking up — get on the ground, and shoot looking up with a wide-angle lens, like a 28mm lens.
Or you can put your camera on the ground, and point it upwards, to get a unique low-angle perspective.
4. Crouch down low
Or you don’t have to get super low — just crouch down, and shoot up. This will help simplify your background, and make your subject look ‘larger than life’.
5. Diagonals while looking up
If you look up, shoot from a diagonal composition, to create a more dynamic composition.
6. What does the ceiling look like?
When we go into buildings or admire architecture — unless we are in Rome, we rarely look at the ceilings.
Look at the ceilings– appreciate the decoration of the roof, and study the materials. Also by not looking up, you often over-look beautiful artwork on the ceiling.
7. Do we know what that looks from underneath?
The nice thing about looking up — you find more subjects and objects to photograph, and you get a unique view– because most of us don’t know what ordinary things look like from low angles.
8. Leading lines
If you want to make better compositions with leading lines, by looking up, and by getting super low, you can get lines/lights on the ceiling point to your subject.
9. Interesting architectural details
Another tip: If you’re going to shoot while looking up, fill the frame.
Shoot with -1 or -2 exposure compensation, for dramatic silhouettes shot from a low-angle perspective.
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- The “Bookend” Technique in Street Photography
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