Here’s a really quick tip that will help you take your photos what I refer to as “up a notch”. It may be written as a quick tip, but I assure you that it’s anything but quick. I say that because it’s one of the biggest problems my online students with the PPSOP and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet have. My fellow photographers will invariably concentrate on the subject or center of interest and forget about The Whole Enchilada; in this example I’m talking about the horizon line.
Line is the most important of all the elements of Visual Design. Without line, none of the other elements I teach would exist. In fact without line, planes, trains, automobiles, and even people wouldn’t exist as well. Why? Because we all have an outLINE. That said, the most important line is the horizon line, and when I see a horizon line that’s not straight it’s a sure sign that a novice took the picture. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not a judgment, merely an observation. In my opinion, the only time the horizon line wouldn’t appear straight is if you were in the Space Shuttle.
You would think that it’s an easy fix, and you would be partially right. If you’re on a tripod, like I am almost all the time, you simply straighten the horizon right away and then forget about it. It will continue to be straight right up to and including the part when you actually take the photo.
However, most people don’t like being in complete control so they persist in hand holding their camera. The inherent problem is in the fact that you have to look at the horizon line while you’re composing, and then again right before you take the photo. That’s going to make it hard to concentrate on a host of things like: capturing the moment, human and non-human gesture, body language, the peak of any action, etc.
I’ve been shooting for forty-three years and I often have a tough time remembering to take a final look at the horizon line. If you can do it, and do it successfully then you’re way above my pay grade…and I take my hat off to you.
The next time you go out shooting, look at the horizon line and remember these words. It will take your photos “up a notch”. Oh and one last piece of advice: Try getting it straight “in the camera”, and not later in front of a computer. It will make you a better photographer, if that’s what you care about!!!
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2013 workshop schedule at the top of this blog.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.