Work Your Subject

How to use multiple variables to improve your shots
Click Images To Enlarge This Article Features Photo Zoom

Prior to leaving any subject, eliminate all variables of how to improve the capture. This may mean choosing a different lens to change the perspective, getting down low or up high to get a different angle, waiting for better light, augmenting the light with flash or a reflector, softening the light with a diffuser, using a filter for an effect, etc. As you can see from this list, there are many strategies that can be applied to change an image and the list goes on. When used in tandem, a plethora of variables can be applied. Learning to use them should become part of your photographic repertoire.

In the series of images that accompany this article, the first was made when there was a big cloud blocking the sun. I liked the composition, so I waited patiently for it to pass. The second image was made when the sun fully illuminated the foreground ripples and yucca in the background. In that the composition was approximately ninety degrees to the sun, I attached a polarizer to bring out the dramatic clouds in the sky. It also brought out a bit more pop to the foreground ripples

The idea of working your subject while in the field is to be able to decide which version is best when working the images on the computer. If all the options in the field aren’t applied, you don’t have the luxury to choose. Granted that image optimization software allows a photographer to greatly improve digital files, but there’s no substitute for getting it right in the field. Computers have expanded our possibilities of how we post process our images, but I prefer to make sure I do everything I can when I make the image to make sure I come home with the best raw data with which to work.

A great task for you to do right now is sit down with a pen and paper and generate a list of different ways you can change the way you capture a picture. Use the ideas I shared in paragraph one as a basis from which to start. When you’re done, make some copies of the list and place one in your camera bag. Refer to it often and apply the techniques when you’re out on your next shoot.



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