Seeing Eye to Eye

Get Eye Level 

 
When photographing children or animals it’s almost always a good idea to get down to their level. Try to get eye to eye with your subject. You may have to kneel or sit on the floor in order to get eye level with them, but by doing so, you’ll more often than not, get a much better image. This technique makes your subject and the viewer feel more comfortable.  

I know this tip, or technique might seem obvious. I’ve seen many people just do it without giving it a thought when taking pictures. That’s great, but knowing this simple compositional technique and putting it into practice will improve your photos. Doing so, invites the viewer of the image into the subject’s world. When looking down on children or animals you oftentimes make them appear weak and distant to the viewer. Remember, get down to their eye level. 

Getting eye to eye invites the viewer into the subjects world

 

 The above photo is of my beautiful daughter. It was taken about 16 years ago (man, time flies). It’s a scan from an Ektachrome slide and has some technical flaws, but I love the image. When she was teething, she would really lay into this day crib. I’ll have more examples in future posts illustrating how getting to your subject’s level will, more often than not, improve your images.  

Try it yourself. Grab your camera, and if you have a kid or a pet nearby, photograph them while you’re standing up and looking down on them. Then, kneel or sit down and take an image eye to eye. Let me know which one you like better.  Jeff 

   


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“A Beautiful Night for Fishing”

 

This photo was taken in Pundaquit, Philippines. I was a beautiful night and I was on the beach with my family. Whenever I’m somewhere that I know I want to shoot, I always make note of the direction of the sun and where it will set. Depending upon how long we’ll be there I’ll do my best to estimate the time when I’ll get the best light. The golden hour (or so) before sunset and the hour or two after sunrise in the morning gives us photographers the best light to shoot with. It’s warm and inviting. The shadows give our scene texture and drama. We can create interesting silhouettes by placing the sun behind our subjects and by metering for the highlights in a scene. When shooting landscapes and scenics always try to be at your location during those golden hours to get the best light.

This photo was taken during that evening “Golden Hour”. It was taken with a slight telephoto to compress the depth of field and to make the area’s of interest closer to the viewer. The sunset was enhanced with a sunset filter which dramatized the warming effect of the low sun. The image placement of the boat was done intentionally, using one of the four “Intersecting Points of Interest” which I’ll explain in a future post. Ordinarily I’d like to place the horizon more off-center using the “Rule of Thirds” when composing the shot but sometimes the elements of a view will not make that possible. Just as with the “Intersecting Points of Interest”, I’ll be writing a future post that will explain the rule of thirds. I like this image and hope you like this image as well.