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Photography Is More Than X And Y
Use Your Digital Camera As A Variant
When capturing this photo of Leah, I turned the camera slightly to help capture the reflection. Notice all the diagonals and triangles formed in this rectangle photo?
On the East Coast, the Sun rises above the water, right where the sky meets the ocean, something photographers in Florida love, especially if they are early morning risers. It creates a beautiful image in our minds and it’s easily captured in our digital cameras. For those not fortunate enough to live along the coastal waters, we still see the Sun rising along the Earth’s horizon line, it’s something we’ve grown accustomed to from the moment we’re born—it’s the necessary norm.
Even television screens bring movies to our minds in a horizontal format, but fortunately, architecture and nature itself, brings us verticals, another format we’ve grown accustomed to viewing with our eyes. It’s like if our minds are programmed to two standard formats, horizontal and vertical. Many photographers even mark a treasure map “X” (the horizontal plane we stand on) and never move from their self-imposed, sacred, shooting spot! Well it’s time to break the mold, even the Earth turns in 360 variable degrees, and so should our digital cameras—explore the possibilities! Don’t be a stagnate photographer.
In almost twelve years that I’ve conducted almost 500 photography workshops and seminars, as I walked around observing photographers capture beautiful, creative photos of gorgeous models, I always saw, and still see, one common thread, the digital camera held either vertically or horizontally—though mostly horizontal. And while that’s the natural way of doing things, I’ll often tell photographers, look for different angles, turn the camera, look for new perspectives, don’t be afraid to think outside the box, or in the case of digital photography, there is more to a rectangle than four sides.
X Is Left, Y Is High
While this is a hybrid photoblog, here’s a little math and biology to remember the “X” and “Y,” for math, “X” is horizontal left and right. “Y” is “high in the sky,” thus representing up and down movements on a graph and in biology, the “Y” is the male chromosome and we’ll let your imagination go from there.
For even a rectangle, a true quadrilateral, has imaginary diagonals that start at opposite corners of its four right angles. While I’m not the best in math, much less geometry, if a photographer approaches a photography shoot with a geometric mindset, they might be surprised at the results, as often, photographs that break the standard mold are the most powerful. Learn to turn the camera, there is no photographic rule to shoot perfect horizontal or vertical photos when it comes to photography. And if there was such a rule, as I often state, learn the rules, then learn to break them effectively and deterring from the standard horizontal and vertical formats of photography is no different—break the (self-imposed) rule, or perhaps I should say, break the mold.
I will add a disclaimer, for the norm, we don’t walk around with our heads tilted at an angle, for if we did, people would think we’ve obviously lost our equilibrium. So save the deviation for just a few shots, then stick to the norm, but don’t hesitate to tilt that digital camera, as variety might just add some spice in your photo. Just don’t over do it, learn to experiment on occasion, as we don’t normally see the world cocked or crooked, though as photographers, we can interpret the world as we see and share it with many. So my photography tip of the day, turn the camera on occasion and snap the shutter in between the axis of X and Y to come up with A. “A” as in amazing, alluring, anticipation, agony, arousing, astonishment, abnormal, astounding, around, aligned, aesthetic, above average, awe-struck, but most of all, as art.
In this photo of Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough, I tilted the camera to make a typical horizontal photo more exciting and forced imaginary diagonals with the windmill and her body.
In summary, don’t get stuck with expected, artistic results, deliver a deviation from the norm like the great painters did in their day. Diversify. Design something different and your art will standout amongst the average. It’s up to you as a photographer to separate yourself from the pack, especially if you’re a night owl living on the West Coast, as the Sun sets from the same origin, at the horizon line where the sky meets the land or water, and of course, we’re used to that, it’s not a photographic phenomena. It’s reality and photography sometimes is best delivered as our recreation of reality, not necessarily the norm.