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Antelope CanyonBefore photographing a subject, whether a landscape, a person or anything else, a photographer must choose a viewpoint. This early decision is very important because it affects almost every aspect of the resulting image. The viewpoint must be chosen with knowledge of the the subject and of the story to be told - the purpose of the picture. It should also be chosen to achieve appropriate light and hence shadows, achieve good perspective, make best use of whatever foreground elements are available, and with control of depth of field and the background firmly in mind. It might also be worthwhile adding scale or balance by introducing a secondary subject such as a person in a vast landscape.

Don't neglect the simple ways in which viewpoint can be changed. Bend your legs, sit or lie down, stand on a wall etc etc. Walk around the subject, see what the picture looks like when taken against the light, change the focal length of the lens and vary aperture to control the depth of field.

It is often the case that once a worthwhile viewpoint and composition has been found, another image can be found within the initial composition. Try going closer, perhaps by zooming in or better still by moving physically closer to the subject. This is particularly true when photographing people. Certainly capture group or full-length pictures, but don't be afraid to go closer for head and shoulder shots or intimate images revealing just faces. A portrait captured with a wide-angle lens positioned close to a subject can incorporate environmental elements that enhance the story told by the image.


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