Thursday, April 24, 2014

Working The Shot

Once you find a subject that's interesting, get as many different perspectives as the subject allows for. Many call this "working the shot".  In street photography, that may only be one, while in landscape it could be as many as you have time and energy for as you hike to different vantage points. Even in landscape photography, fleeting light may change and end good possibilities for the shot.

There are a few methods you can think of to get into the photography mode of working the shot. Think of it as though you're on another planet and the photos will be used to describe the subject later back on earth. Another way to look at it as if you own the subject and these shots will be used to sell the item later.

Once you return, edit the most favorable shot and delete the rest. After a few minutes of study, it's not difficult to delete without reservation. If you fail to do this, your photo library will fill with undesirable images. When that happens, it gets more difficult to find the best images.

Here are the results from a photo of an old barn I found on a photo drive. I walk around as much as possible without trespassing to take many photos of the same building. I zoomed in for some details and zoomed out to get the entire structure in the photo. Once in Lightroom, I deleted most of the photos saving these few that had the feel I was looking for.

The first photo was perfect for HDR editing and I had 3 exposures. This allowed for some of the interior details to come through.

Decaying barn near Granville, Ohio.
Old decaying barn near Granville, Ohio. 
Shot from a different angle, the contrasting light worked well for black and white processing.
Old barn decaying in field.
Black and white photo of a decaying barn in Central Ohio.

Pulley at peak of an old barn.
Pulley On An Old Barn
The final photo is the result of finding some interesting details and filling the frame with them using a telephoto lens.

I had about 30 photos to sift through to come up with these 3 and that's not a bad ratio for me. The better the photographer, the fewer the bad shots, but don't be afraid of failure with digital. It's tiring going through all of these photos and as skills improve, the goal of fewer photos should come naturally.

Working the photo is fine for stationary objects and landscapes, but for street photography and events, you work the scene, not the shot. Multiple photos from many different perspectives while the scene constantly changes is another useful skillset.

I can't praise the lowly super-zoom bridge cameras enough for this type of work. This little photoshoot would have required 3 lens changes with a DSLR and I don't even have enough room to carry the equipment on my motorcycle.

On top of working the shot with different perspectives, I had the camera set to bracketing so that I made 3 exposures for each shot. Paying attention to the light is one of the most important aspects of working a shot. The different exposures automatically gives 3 different lighting possibilities and if your steady enough, provides 3 images for HDR processing if you decide that HDR processing improves the look and feel of the photo.

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