Learning From Your Mistakes

Last week was our annual church picnic. I was asked to photograph the festivities with a sparkling new Nikon D7000. How could I decline? My dream camera, a heavenly setting and perfect shooting conditions. Too bad my photography skills ruined the ideal set-up.

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but after reviewing the shots I took, I could kick myself for not employing more of the techniques I preach about on this blog.

For starters I could have changed up my angles more. I was in charge of photographing the kids’ games and other activates taking place on the great lawn. The flat field was void of rocks and other items to climb, so I couldn’t shoot from a higher perspective. However, I certainly could have squatted, kneeled or stretched out on my belly more to switch up the composition.

Don’t fall into the trap of shooting down at small subjects and up at large ones. Rather, bend down to shoot small flowers to make them look larger than life or stand on a rock, climb a tree or use a step stool to gain new perspective on otherwise boring scenes.

Another one of my regrets is not telling more stories with my shots. A picture speaks a thousand words, but multiple shots can tell an entire tale. Your subjects and scenery help tell a story in a single shot, which is why you should milk the interaction between each. Look for details that will help enhance a visual story. For example, while shooting the pinata breaking at the picnic I should have taken a few more close-ups of faces, hands clenched around the bat and fingers grabbing for falling candy. Ideally, you will end up with individual pictures that can stand alone, but also complement a collection of shots taken of the same scene.

Related Articles:

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

Spicing Up Your Shots

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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