Taking Better Pictures- Angles tell a story || Augusta, GA Photography Teacher

So you have a fancy camera or a new phone that takes better pictures, but you still are underwhelmed by your pictures. Lets change that! So follow along with the “Taking Better Pictures” series & learn how to take better pictures with whatever you take pictures with. 

In this first post of the series, I am going to cover angles, but not the kind of angles you learn in geometry– because let’s be honest, I am so not the person to teach that kind of stuff. First an example:

Taking Better Pictures- Angels Marissa Dodgen Photography

Camera: Sony a55, Lens: 35 mm, ISO 400, Shutter: 1/200, aperture: f/1.8

**Settings will be different each time. Settings vary based on the lighting, the room, the time of day, the weather, the camera, the photographer, etc. Use settings only as information for shooting better, not as ideal settings for your camera or that particular picture. 

 

This^ is how most people take pictures. From their personal perspective. How they are seeing the moment. There is nothing wrong with that, except that moment can be much more powerful if you change your perspective or in this case your angle. 

So here’s another example:

 

Taking Better Pictures- Angles Marissa Dodgen Photography

Camera: a55, Lens: 35mm, ISO 400, shutter: 1/200, aperture: f/1.8

By changing my perspective I have changed the picture. This image is much more powerful. Notice my settings have not changed. Same lens. So what did change?

Instead of shooting from my height (angle) & just taking the picture, I dropped down to Addy’s level, got a little closer, & focused in on her instead of taking in the whole scene. Every picture tells a story & the story here was…Addy is cute in her brother’s hat, shoveling sweet potatoes in her mouth. That story is told in both pictures, but by dropping down to her level & changing my angle to her, I focus in on the subject of the picture…Addy. Everything else just adds to the story.

You can still tell she is little because you can see the high chair.

You can still tell she was eating because you see it on her face (which you couldn’t really see in the first picture) & smooshed into her fingers.

You can still see the hat, but it is no longer the focus.

Addy is the center of this picture & it much more likely to end up on a gallery wall or on facebook because it makes more sense right off the bat. Your initial reaction is “awe she’s cute” instead of “she’s eating in her brother’s hat”. With every picture you want to bring emotion, not fact (unless you are a reporter). “She’s eating in her brother’s hat” are the facts. “awe she’s cute” is the emotion (well it’s a fact too, but I’m bias). 

So I challenge you to change your angle to what you are photographing. If you are taking a picture from above something, drop down to the level of your subject. This will instantly give you better, more powerful photos. 

So let’s take a look a few more examples:

Taking Better Photos- Angles Marissa Dodgen Photography

Camera: a55, lens: 50mm, ISO 1600, shutter: 1/100, aperture: f/1.8

So here’s a picture of my son’s truck…big whoop right? I was standing up (angle was above my subject) taking the picture. There’s not really much power or a story to tell in this picture. 

 

SONY DSC

Camera: a55, lens: 50mm, ISO 1600, shutter: 1/100, aperture: f/1.8

In this^ picture I knelt down to the level of the truck. It still doesn’t tell a story, but it is a much more powerful image. The truck looks bigger, more colorful, & kinda more fun. I didn’t move my feet, I just dropped onto my knees & elbows. 

 

SONY DSC

Camera: a55, lens: 50mm, ISO 1600, shutter: 1/100, aperture: f/1.8

Still on my knees & elbows, I looked around & saw two other trucks behind the little dump truck. I simply switched my angle to the dump truck to include the other two trucks. I was shooting from the right of the truck & switched to shoot from the left side of the truck. By just doing that, I found a story. There’s more than one truck in our house & we have a boy & a girl. Still a powerful, colorful image, but now there’s a story. 

Once more example:

 SONY DSC

Camera: a55, Lens: 50mm, ISO: 100, shutter: 1/100, aperture: f/1.8

Again, I am standing up in this picture. I saw the shoes on the porch & took the picture. You see the umbrella but what else do you know? Is there a story? Why are the shoes on the porch?

 

Taking Better Pictures- Angles tell stories Marissa Dodgen Photography
camera: a55, lens: 50mm, ISO: 1600, shutter: 1/160, aperture: f/6.3 

 So what do we know now? There are shoes on the porch & umbrella because it’s raining & we know that because you can see the puddles on the porch behind the shoes. See? Right there, a story! I didn’t move my position, I again dropped down to my knees & elbows & shot the picture on the same plane as my subject. I changed my angle to the subject & instantly I have a story with my picture. 

So I challenge you to try & change your angle & see if your photos improve. Join in with me by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter & use the hashtag #MDPtakingbetterpics. I look forward to seeing how your photos improve. 

Lots of love & thanks, 

Marissa

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