Posts Tagged ‘baby’
The best photograph you’ve never taken may be happening behind you. That wonderful scene you’re pointing your camera at may be the second best thing to photograph within eye sight.
What’s a better photograph–the guy scoring the touchdown or the fans going wild? An athlete dramatically winning a game at the buzzer is the subject of countless great photos and there are tons of wonderful fan jubilation photos out there so the answer is clearly that both situations are loaded with potential. But as the excitement and cheering of a game peaks it is an unusual photographer who will ignore the action, turn around, and point the camera at the reaction.
I am certainly not suggesting that turning your back on a leaping ballerina to photograph a cheering audience is always the best thing to do, but part of being a good photographer is to consider everything that’s happening as a possible photograph. Great photography is an exercise in concentrated observation. Keep yourself open to the possibilities.
Easier said than done, believe me.
But sometimes the obvious thing to photograph–that is, the action–is just not that great. For whatever reason, the guy getting a pie thrown in his face doesn’t work photographically. Maybe there’s a bad background or the light is weird. It should be great – hey,the guy’s getting a pie in the face – but it just isn’t. That is a great time to look for something else. Look for a reaction.
Reactions come in every emotional flavor. Laughter and tears and joy and boredom and anger and fear and excitement and passion and bewilderment can all make for great photographs. As a photographer (and a human being, for that matter) the natural inclination is to pay attention to the source of the hubbub – everyone looks when a fire truck roars by. But it’s good solid photographic thinking to keep an eye on the fringe of an event…..on the reactions.
Some reactions can be anticipated. When the best man is toasting the bride and groom and he’s telling an anecdote about what a slob the groom was in college you know there’s some kind of punch line coming. After you’ve got a decent shot of the best man look around the room to see who’s really involved in the story. Find a face that getting ready to explode with laughter. (In my family that would be my mother. She’s such an easy laugh, but that’s another story.)
One approach to photography is to ask yourself what most photographers would do in this situation (they would likely photograph the action) and then do something else (you photograph the reaction). In any case, the the first idea that comes into your head is not always the best. Keep thinking. Keep looking.
An of course, photographing action and reaction are not mutually exclusive.
They look so good together on a single page in a photo album that you may want to have your camera ready to photograph the inevitable great reaction.
The cropping on this photograph is everything. The baby to be is clearly the star the show, but Libby has used a few simple elements to let us get a glimpse at the that complicated world of feelings and emotions that are swirling around it. The child at the bottom is thrilled, but has no idea what the future will bring. Mom is documenting herself and the impending relationships and she, too, really has no idea. All they can do smile and wonder and take a picture. I did a book years ago called Siblings with Anna Quindlen. I’m glad the editors didn’t see this picture or they may have put it on the cover instead of one of mine. I love, love, love this picture.
This picture is a monument to photographic simplicity. At first glance, it’s one baby and two pieces of cloth. But there’s more—the lighting perfectly matches the tone of the elegant little package. This is everything a baby photograph should be—a timeless treasure.
Overall shots are usually about place. You should always be asking yourself what showing the location will contribute to the viewers response. Sometimes a picture of a person isn’t really a picture of a person; it’s a picture of a person in a place and their relationship to it and the person doesn’t need to visually dominate the picture to make that work.
And sometimes putting space around a subject simple creates a mood. Lots of emptiness enhances a feeling of loneliness, for example.
If you’re creating a set of photographs it’s almost mandatory that you mix it up with close ups and overalls. Visual variety is the spice of photographic thinking. An extreme close-up of a bright red maple leaf is always going to look good next to an overall shot of the forest.
If I had to give most amateurs one photo tip it would be get closer to your subjects. It’s the biggest mistake they make—they just don’t fill the frame with their subjects.
But it’s a related skill to keep your eyes open for overall shots. It’s a wise photographer that can do both in the same situation.
Teddy was a little over two pounds and spent his first three months in the hospital. He’s at least two months old in the picture on the left—I know that because we didn’t see him without tubes in his face for two months. I shot the other picture on Christmas Eve last week.
He’s perfect in every regard except that he takes great joy in breaking his older brother’s Lego creations.
As you can imagine, we are filled with joy today and proud of our beautiful big boy.