This is what I talk about when I’m working with my online students with the BPSOP. During my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, we have daily critiques in the late mornings. We discuss images they’ve shot either the evening before or after the morning shoot. One of the first questions I ask someone when talking about a particular image of theirs is what do you wish.
It’s a little mental game I’ve played with myself for as long as I can remember. I’m always wishing something that’s not in my frame would be, some additional layer of interest that would hold the viewer’s attention and keep him around longer; I’m always looking for ways to make my photos stronger.
When I ask someone this question, I want them to think, to color outside the lines. This keeps their mind flowing with ideas, and helps them become more of a storyteller ( a photo maker not a photo taker) when composing their own images. It doesn’t have to be a big thing like a hot air balloon landing right behind the subject.
It can be as subtle as a black cat in an area in the foreground where nothing is going on…maybe even its shadow. A person riding a bike through the frame with a white shirt on and wishing it were a red one. Maybe the subject is two feet to the right to get a little more of the light on the face. Or a little more to the left so that huge telephone pole isn’t sticking out of his head!!!
Since I hope that all my fellow photographers always take more than one photo of any particular subject, your wish might just be walking down the street towards you, or coming up behind you, or maybe that yellow cab you wanted pulls up and man wearing a red shirt climbs out.
I’m personally not a big fan of sunrises over the ocean. However, this one is not bad. So what did I wish that would have created another layer of interest? Something to have kept the viewer around by offering him something to think about? How about a cruise ship (all lit up) about to leave the edge of the frame on the left; leaving a wake all the way across to the right edge.
Btw, if a hot air balloon all of a sudden does land right behind your subject with Dorothy and Toto waving to the lens, I strongly suggest you immediately wish for World Peace…then a billion dollars!!!
Try it yourself sometime. As you’re composing wish for something else happening and who knows, maybe your wish will come true.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.
Keep sending in photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.