Tuesday, August 23, 2016

focus and perspective: a mini photo lesson

Photography runs in my veins.  I'm not sure why, I just see the world in photos.  Driving down random roads interesting backdrops stare back at me, the rest of the world fading.  Rain is no longer just rain.  It becomes a million sparkles, just begging to be photographed on the freshly washed grass.   The business side of my photography is simply the icing on the cake. It thrills my heart immensely to offer the gift of storytelling through photographs to others.  But, (and don't take this the wrong way) it isn't the whole cake.  If I never photographed another family on earth besides my own, I would still pull out my camera on a daily basis.  It just does something for my soul.  I am in a season right now of figuring out what gets to take priority in my heart and mind.  I can tell you for sure, the photography stays. 

Once upon a time I taught a one-day photography retreat on the farm.  What complete joy it was to share my passion with others and see their eyes light up at this amazing gift we call photography.  Today, let's pretend that we're on a mini retreat together.  Lean in close-I have a few tips that hopefully will inspire your own photos! 
 First, let's talk about focus! I want you to go back up and look at the first chicken pictured again. 
Now look at this one.  See how the focus has changed?  

These photos were taken with my phone, by the way. In the first photo the focus is on the whole scene.  I simply held the phone up to the scene and moved it up, down, and to the left and right, trying to find that sweet spot of light.  Then I took the photo. 

In the second photo I stood up, instantly putting me at an angle where I was looking down at the chickens.  I noticed that the chicken wire made an almost "frame", so I decided to go with it.  While holding the phone still I tapped the phone screen where the chickens were.  This made the focus box show up around the chickens, leaving them extra-sharp looking and the chicken wire fence blurry. 

This is one of my favorite ways to take a photo.  You still notice the chicken wire and it definitely helps play up the story of the image, but by choosing to have it out of focus your eye goes entirely to the main subject-the chickens. 
 Tip number two is all about perspective.  As I was traipsing around the garden this flower caught my eye.  You might be surprised at first that I took a picture from behind the flower, instead of in front.  But remember, perspective is everything.  I'm always fascinated how a group of people can all photograph the same thing and yet every single view/angle/take on that same thing will look different. 

It is pounded into our heads as children how unique we are and how great that is!  Then as we get older the shininess of being unique kinda wears off.  Or we learn certain rules for photography.  I remember this one, simple "rule." Find what makes my heart feel something and photograph that

Do you see the many layers on the back of this beautiful flower?  Or how it seems to bow down in awe at the beautiful, blue sky?  Or how about that one petal on the bottom that is kicked back away from the rest, just doing its own thing?  That's what I see from this perspective.
The obvious way to photograph these flowers would be to hold your phone or camera above them.  That would certainly deliver a gorgeous view.  But these two beauties, hanging out next to one another, are as equally interesting from the side.  To take this photo I did the same thing as I mentioned in the first tip-I tapped the flowers to put the focus there and let all the green grass and blue skies fade into the background and become blurry.

Again with the side view! Come on, I bet you even have a favorite side view of yourself.

When looking for an interesting perspective to capture, don't forget the side view.  Things aren't always their most beautiful selves from capturing them straight on or from up above.  I thought this photo was made interesting also by the fact that the flower is the main focus, with not much of the stem showing. 



As always, I love to capture things up high, even if it means holding the subject up high yourself!
That blue sky just paints the most gorgeous, eye-catching background for this simple bouquet of flowers.  Had I just held the bouquet up with the dirt as my background, the dreamy affect wouldn't have been near the same. 
And last but not least, don't forget to also look down low! I got way down on the ground to capture this basket of okra and flowers.  If I had stood up to take this photo a lot of the details on the front of the flowers would have been missed. 

I challenge you to look for new ways to focus and find perspective this week! 
Any other photography questions? Ask away!

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