Composition and the Angle of View

We’ve talked a lot about various rules of composition – what they are (Rule of Thirds, Golden Mean, etc) and when to adhere versus eschew them to create dramatic effect.  One thing we’ve not talked much about is the idea of changing your angle of view.  We have mentioned the concept in the past, suggesting that to get a good perspective to look up, look down, look behind you, and in new directions to get a unique view on things.  While this is always a good practice to remind yourself that there are other perspectives, it’s never really been discussed or illustrated in depth.

So, what I did was take a pretty ordinary object – my coffee mug – and take ten different pictures of it.  I challenged myself to look at one thing in ten unique ways – at different angles, and to try and find one that showed me something different than what I would usually expect to see.  I did get ten different angles, so technically I accomplished the objective.  Since some were very close to one another though, I am sharing here six different angles of view to help illustrate the purpose behind the exercise:

Angle 1

Angle 2

Angle 3

Angle 4

Angle 5

Angle 6

I used my 70-200 f4 and a tripod.  The white background you see in some pictures is just a piece of foam packing that was used to ship prints to me a while back.  I had my flash on the hot shoe, pointing up and to the rear most of the time.  Camera settings were 1/250th, at f4, and an ISO of 400.

It was pretty fun actually because I drink coffee every day! So, taking this regular object that I usually don’t even think twice about (although I am a coffee hound so I do have quite a collection of mugs to choose from…), I took 6 distinctly different angles of view.  Some are more boring than others, sure!  But some are actually kinda cool – in particular I am fond of the one with the mug handle sticking in the air!  To keep it in place I simply stuck my lenscap behind the mug as a prop!  It’s a fun exercise, and can make you see regular objects and scenes in new ways.  This is just one way to force yourself to think creatively.

So now, it’s reader assignment time – go find something regular, anything!  Whether it’s a coffee mug, a screwdriver, a telephone or a clock radio…pick something then force yourself to take ten different shots of it.  Zoom in close, go super wide.  Drop your aperture way open for more blur and selective focus.  Use a totally different lens than you normally would.  Going with the 70-200 I forced myself to back up.  I could have swapped to the 10-22mm and gotten something totally different…and the same goes for the 70mm macro.  Whether you live in an apartment, a house, or……an airstream (do you really know anyone that would live in an airstream?), there are tons of  ways to think creatively that surround you!  Seek them out, and you will find a piece of yourself – share it with the world!

Post your creativity exercise shots up on Flickr in the LDP pool – show that creative side and happy shooting!  Until tomorrow, keep them shutters clicking, and watch out for a new Audioboo about the new Canon T2 Rebel – gonna be a fun clip on what Canon has been up to! 🙂

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1 comment for “Composition and the Angle of View

  1. Ray Rogers
    February 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    It’s interesting how rigid our minds get. When you suggested shooting from 10 different angles of view I immediately thought that you would move the camera only – not the mug. But your approach is better. Thanks for the tip.


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