Saturday, March 19, 2011

Composition - Bend Your Knees!

I’ve been meaning for some time to write some articles for photographers and those that want to be photographers.  Here is one that I thought of while on vacation with my family.  We were in Washington DC visiting museums and monuments.  Seemingly every person walked up to whatever it was, took a snapshot and walked away.
So…every person took the exact same photographs.  So I was pointing out to my kids that there are many ways to photograph the same subject to make it seem more interesting and dynamic.  One quick trick that you can try just about any time is to bend your knees.  I would guess that the average person makes 95% of their photographs at eye level.  Whether that is standing or sitting, they pull out the camera and put it in front of them in their current position. 
Here are a few samples of images that I have taken over the last year or so that are improved because of the lower than eye-level angle that I used to take them. 

composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees-01
For this image, Carly’s soon-to-be-husband had sent her a note while she was getting ready for their wedding.  At the end of the note, he made a mention of her tendency to be late and asked her to be on time.  I bent my knees to include the clock and a laughing bridesmaid.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees-02 Semiahmoo
Signs are not the most interesting thing in the world, but they help tell the story of the wedding by spelling out the “where” in the story.  Semiahmoo had some tulips in front of their sign so I bent down to include them as larger objects in the foreground.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees-03 Salish Lodge
Here I bent down at the bottom of the stairs to exaggerate the perspective of the trees behind them and the leading line of the railing going towards them.  This was taken at the park at Snoqualmie Falls next to Salish Lodge.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees-04 Newcastle Golf Club
To get a better perspective of this bride getting ready at Newcastle Golf Club, I bent to elbow level.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Salty's Alki
One of the best things about bending your knees (actually, I was laying down on the dock), is that is cleans up the background by letting you emphasize sky rather than clutter.  This one was taken at a dock next to Salty’s on Alki.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees-06
Here the bride was putting on her shoes as she was getting ready at the Warwick Hotel in Seattle.  The only way to get the image with both her feet and her face in the frame was by getting down.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Mount Baker Presbyterian
This image of the bride and groom taken at Mount Baker Presbyterian shows the cool architectural details on the background.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees-07
This senior portrait was taken in a parking garage.  Looks cooler with the pillars and industrial details behind her.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees Willow Lodge
This couple was getting married at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, so we walked next door to Red Hook.  I like the “worms-eye” view to take advantage fo the lines of fenced in beer kegs.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Palace Ballroom
This image, taken behind the Palace Ballroom was a reflection in the water.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Alexis Hotel
This image was taken just after they were married in a suite at the Alexis Hotel.  By bending down I was able to minimize the distractions in the room for a more simple photograph about the couple.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Semiahmoo 2composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Alexis Hotel 2composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Alexis Hotel 3composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Palace Ballroom
Groom singing to his bride as she comes down the aisle at the Palace Ballroom.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Skansonia
This image taken at the Skansonia is taken at dock level to show the line of the dock.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Georgetown Ballroom
This was taken at the Georgetown Ballroom.  They have a very cool neon sign above the stage.  I got lower to show the sign in the background of their first dance.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Kitsap Memorial Park
Getting low helped to change the feel of the image during the father of the groom’s speech at Kitsap Memorial Park.
composition by seattle wedding photographer cory parris - bend knees- Willows Lodge 2
Getting low is always fun on the dance floor. 
If you have ideas for future articles, please email me at c@coryparris.com

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