Work the Subject

Don’t expose just one or two frames (or even a dozen) and then move on. You need to work the subject. This includes –

  • Different lenses
  • Different perspectives
  • Different angles
  • Different lighting
  • Different exposures & depth of field
  • Even different
    • Time of day
    • Days
    • Seasons

You’ve got to get to know your subject and this takes time. If you work the subject, rare will be the time that the best image is the one you made early in the shoot. Imagine if you had stopped early and moved on – and lost the keeper.

A suggested strategy – start from afar and move progressively closer. At any given distance try more than a single focal length. Also, try changing your angle – both up/down and left/right. And – don’t forget to try both portrait and landscape orientations. Next, zoom in with your feet (move your camera closer to the subject) and repeat the entire process. Try to work from at least at three distances – long, mid and short range in that order. The reason for starting afar and moving in is that this is how you’ll get to know the subject better – start with the forest and not a tree branch. This approach should be used whether shooting a landscape or a single flower.

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Here’s an example using a Calla Lily (indoors). The images were made over a period of four days. Between daily shoots, while sipping a glass of wine before dinner, I’d view the lily from every angle and in different light (in/out of sunlight coming through skylights) looking for ideas for the next day. Not all of the images are “keepers” but all taught me something.

The order of the images in the gallery roughly follows the far/mid/close progression. Lots of different angles and depths of field.

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Click to enlarge & step through manually.

3 thoughts on “Work the Subject

  1. another set of images you had on slide.com and not visible….don’t mind if i keep pointing these issues out….am just always eager to see your images Ed.

    • OK. I found them.

      Fortunately, I downloaded my slide shows from slide.com when they made their closing up shop announcement.

      If you find more I can put them back quickly.

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