You have that favorite chair at home, don’t you? You know, the one where you can prop your feet up, and just vege in front of the TV or take a power nap? It’s a little worn, but it’s too comfy to get rid of, and you feel at home in it. Have you checked under the cushion for change lately?
Most photographers have that same comfort zone when it comes to shooting. We gravitate towards our favorite lens, aperture, perspective, lighting, the list goes on. While not neccesarily bad, it may be keeping you from growing to your potential and inspired. I always start out with my “comfy” shot, and change things up until I get the rushing feeling of inspiration and inner voice screaming…”I nailed it!”.
In the below before & after check out the reward of moving beyond my comfort zone. In the before shot I walked up to the scene, digested it, and began shooting in my comfort zone. I am not ashamed to admit it – the resulting image is not good (bad, really). The top of the wall cuts off the brides head, the frontal perspective is flat and uninteresting, and the lack of detail in the sky is boring.
So I made a few adjustments -
- Got higher which: kept her head below the wall, took advantage of the interesting background and gave me a more flattering perspective
- Moved to the side to get better light and angle on her face.
- Changed from 24mm to 150mm for more flattering compression
- Retouched the image
Just like under the cushion – you need to find the change. Change lens length, shoot from up high, shoot from down low, high key, low key, change the aperture, long exposure, short exposure. If your gut is telling you there is a great shot to be had, listen and go and find it. Don’t settle for the capturing the scene at face value or falling into the trap of producing the expected. Experiment, play, and have fun!