I recently wrote a post I called up close and personal, and it’s probably at or very close to being at the top of my list of things that can and will take your imagery what I refer to as, “up a notch”.
I constantly see my online students with the PPSOP and those that attend my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” standing too far back from their subject. Most of the time it’s because they just don’t think about it. I’ve also been told that they are afraid or intimated to get toooooooo close. Then there are those that have admitted being a touch on the lazy side.
There’s two ways to look at it: If you’re content in making your goal to become a “half way decent photographer” (as is the case of one of my students I talked to), then by all means continue on the path you’re currently on; you’ll be fine! On the other hand, if you’re goal is to become the best photographer you can be and work hard at taking your photos “up a notch”, then you’re going to have to get over any hump you have concerning getting toooooo up close and personal.
Here’s what it can do for you: first, by getting up close and personal, you’re anchoring your subject in the foreground which in turn will create “layers of interest”. This is a key ingredient in Perspective by creating Depth. This is just one of the items you’ll find on my Artist Palette I share with my students.
Second, by getting up close and personal, you can generate Visual Tension (another item on my Artist Palette) one of two ways: Putting your subject close to the edge of your frame and minimizing the Negative Space between the subject and the edge of the frame. And last but certainly not least, by getting up close and personal you can hide the fact that you might be shooting on a gray day.
All these suggestions will keep the viewer looking at your photos longer by taking control of what he or she processes and perceives while they’re hanging around. This is the basis of the Psychology of Gestalt, and it’s a big part of my classes.
Andy, one of the students that took my workshop with Objectifs’ in Singapore was shooting along with the rest of the class on a fishing pier, It was right after sunrise and the light was not very strong as it was hidden by the typical clouds that are a big part of everyday life in Singapore. Since it sits almost on the Equator, there’s a lot of humidity. The water vapor that makes up the humidity is usually not a photographer’s friend.
Andy was taking a photo of a fishing rod and reel, but was too far back to create anything worthwhile…by his standards, not mine! Just too much gray and uninteresting environment. I walked up to Andy and reminded him of our discussion back in the classroom about getting close to his subject. He took my advice and was able to walk away with a fairly interesting photo. By getting close he was making pictures, not taking them.
A reminder about my Julia Dean Workshop coming up in Hollywood starting September 10th. I hope some of you can come shoot with me and learn to use the ‘Artist Palette’ with all the Elements of visual design and composition on it.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and come shoot with me sometime.
As always, don’t forget to send a question and photo to: AskJoeB@gmail.com