Through my many on-line photography classes, I have been repeatedly instructed to "work the subject." Applying this advice when I find a subject that interests me forces me to look at the subject from many different perspectives. A few simple concepts for working a subject:
- Choosing perspective:
- low or high
- askew or balanced
- dominating the frame or part of a larger composition
- Choosing composition
- centered or off-center
- "rule-of-thirds" or breaking the rules
- minimalism or regular scale
- horizontal or vertical orientation
- Choosing lighting
- back-light, sidelight, front light (amazing differences when dealing with foliage)
- is there a better time to revisit the subject than right now?
- strong light or diffused light
- Other Considerations
- shallow depth-of-field or maximum depth-of-field
- frame within a frame possibilities
The list goes on and on, but this sets the mind in the right direction. In practice, I will usually shoot about 30-50 images of a subject I really like, modifying my camera position for each shot. Trying to compose multiple ideas of the same subject often yields interesting results. Sometimes I am frustrated by how I only have one image out of 50 that is actually good, while other times, I come away with more than one image from the bunch that I like.
An example using my own photographs:
The following four images were taken on a trip to South Africa last November. The first one I shot before going into the winery and tasting the local grape juice. While sipping the wine and viewing my images in-camera, I realized that I had a subject that deserved to be "worked." The last three images are the result of that extra work.