Point-of-view, the personality behind the photo

Why is Point-of-view so important?

Why is point-of-view so important in the photographers tool book? Many people focus on gear, settings, and technique. However to create a real impact is in part to bring our own unique point-of-view. In many ways it is one of the most difficult things to teach because it is so personal. Point-of-view is probably my least favorite part about teaching because it is completely unique to the photographer. It must always come from the student or the photographer. 

From anywhere else and the picture becomes a cheap imitation, the human eye almost always has a strange ability to find and pick out something that is just not quite right, or just seems forced. Most of the photographers will not reach the next level because of this. They tend to sink into the idea of “I’m just an ordinary photographer” , “i cant bring anything that hasn’t been done yet to the game”. Both of those are just not right. No two people in the world see things in the same was, hence the difficulty in teaching it. The main goal of photography is to bring the world through your eyes to others and allow them to peer into your mind. In many ways that can be hard and also unsettling but completely necessary for your work to have an impact.

Subject placement, does it effect the point-of-view?

What is your first instinct on where to place your subject? If you said the middle you are like many others. you have to ask, why is that? In my experience it has most likely cause by the human condition. We all want to get the most done with the least amount of work possible. This is an ailment that is easy enough to cure, once you know the effects. Centering a subject can lead to boring and mundane pictures which takes away from the ideal as a whole.  Most all viewers look directly at the middle first  and if the subject is right there they move on. 

And that softens the impact and moves the image into a category of boring, ordinary images. This conditioning is in part due to the culture of instant gratification that has precipitated into everyday life due to social media, and has become al too common. If your subject is right in the middle your eyes have no reason to see the rest, there is something that gets lost when this happens. Once you realize the effect it has it is an easy ailment to cure. 

One simple realization needs to happen before you take the next step. You are capturing pictures not subjects. Once you place this phrase into the fore of your photography mind you become more cognizant of how to make your point of view and your images unique. Another cause of center-focused imagery may be because of fixation on the subject. once you learn to break free and look at the composition as a whole you will see an almost instant elevation of your skills and quality of your photography. 

Rule of Thirds

To take your subject out of the center is only the first step to creating an aesthetically pleasing picture, to do it properly is a whole other beast. To make it simple there a sets of “rules” that photographers follow to make the image look right. The reason the word “rules” is in quotes is because in photography there is no set rules. There in lies the beauty of the art, the total latitude to do what ever the heart desires, to shoot whatever you’re passionate about. These rules should be used with a grain of salt and as a major guide (if that makes sense). To be both a guide and rule. They should be followed but your own twist should be added when your confidence level grows.

The rule of thirds is a concept that if you break down an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically you can place your subject either on a line or on a intersection and it will help with breaking the subject out of the middle. For example if you have an image with several strong vertical components you can start to construct the image by placing on of them on one of the vertical third lines or vice versa. 

The thirds rule has been used for a very long time by artists and has been proven to give decent results, however the rule has a catch 22. With it being used so often the composition may start to look like pretty much every other piece that uses it and lose the eye grabbing potential. With that being said the world is chaotic and many times seemingly deliberate disobedience toward the rule of thirds. So it is not an absolute and can be broken.

LCD usage

Throughout my journey in photography I’ve seen many people shun those who look at their LCD screen and it boggles me as to why. The usage of a LCD screen can be a massive advantage in framing a shot or seeing a composition before you click the shutter. Its synonymous with a preview for a Polaroid. The usage of an LCD may be the difference between getting the perfect shot and getting a shot that is just barely wrong, the framing of a shot before clicking the button is an essential step in taking the picture. Using the mini screen on the camera is a great way to perceive the point-of-view before hand

“A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.” – Allen Klein

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