Presenting a fresh perspective always catches attention, and professional photographers know that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a composition with a unique viewpoint is worth far more. Seeking fresh perspectives for your own compositions will make you a better photographer, give your images a spark that catches the eye, and will develop your ability to see things you once might have missed.
Let’s look at a few examples.
The image at left is the pier in Naples, Florida, and puts across the idea of the approaching end of a pleasant day on the beach, but it doesn’t do much more than that. Compare this with the photo above. It is the same pier and was taken less than an hour after the one with beach chairs in the foreground. It presents a unique perspective that is alive with energy and excitement, and the strong elements of graphic design and color pull the eye right into the photo.
The photo at right is another of the same pier taken on the same day, sometime between when the others were taken. This one also presents a unique perspective, that obtained from being under the pier. It employs another device of photographic composition, namely framingthe subject within the larger frame of the entire picture. This technique pulls the eye toward the sky beyond the end of the pier, and directly into the subject which is the spray of the breaking wave.
I noticed quite a few people with cameras while I was on the beach, and they seemed to taking pictures of each other, passing pelicans, and scenes much like that of the beach chairs. I was alone when under the pier, and observed no one photographing when I got the shot of the sun behind the people on the pier.
Unique Perspectives in Galena, IL
These next two pictures were taken on the same day in Galena, an old mining town a few miles east of Iowa and a short distance south of Wisconsin. Galena attracts thousands of visitors every year, and it’s summer population is nearly ten times what it is in winter. Tens of thousands of photographs have been made there, and I set out to make some with a perspective distinctly different than most. It was late fall and I noticed the bright leaves around and under the steel park bench. Standing at one end gave me a unique viewpoint along the length of the seat.
Getting on my knees to shoot through the wheel of the coach in the town square give a visual vantage point not available when standing.
A child on a swing is a rather common sight and a very common photographic subject. It is so common that I’m sure you immediately recognized it, and perhaps it reminded you of watching your own swing shadow in your younger days. That was my intent when I took the photo – I wanted the unique perspective to cause people to remember enjoying themselves on a playground as a child.
The other photo is from my home base in Stillwater, MN and shows three buildings in the Historic District. They are interesting in themselves, but to me the unique perspective gained by photographing them through the sign tells more of the town’s story and gives more interesting image.
Unique Perspectives Make Unique Photos
You’ve seen some fresh ways to depict common objects in these examples, and my experience is that finding a new, unusual, or unique perspective will produce pictures that attract people and invite them to let their eyes linger for a while. Go find your own unique perspectives in the real world, and look for them in photos in magazines, too. If you look you will find them, and the more often you look, the more you will find.
What have you done to get a unique perspective? Have you shot from a high or low vantage point, or from inside or through something? Have you explored all sides of a landmark or famous building, looking for a new way to see it? Tell us what you’ve done, and how it worked for you. Together we all learn more.
Check out all the Pro Photographers Composition Secrets:
1. Leading Lines
2. The Rule of Thirds
3. Beaking the Rule of Thirds
4. Self Assignment: Leading Lines and The Rule of Thirds
5. Framing the Subject
6. Negative Space
7. Graphic Design
10. Patterns & Repetition
11. 9 Composition Self Assignments
12. Use Color as a Focal Point
13. Balance and Symmetry
14. Unique Perspectives
15. Geometry and the Triangle
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