Get down low a low perspective can make a scene look more interesting
Get a bird's eye view, over head shots can help tell a story
Turn your camera on its side to portrait mode
Frame the scene using the rule of thirds
Frame the scene breaking the rules
Take bracketed images to ensure proper exposure or for hdr work
Take a series of over lapping images for a panorama
Take panorama images in portrait mode as well as landscape
Take panoramic images to stack vertically
Frame the scene with foreground interest, then without
Tilt the camera slightly up or down to change the perspective
Frame the scene with people and then without if possible
Compose the scene using natural frames on the sides and top eg. Trees, skylines and buildings
Change up different focus points eg. Foreground, middle and background
Play with the Depth of Field or Boken
Try different camera settings eg. Smaller or larger fstops, white balance adjustments
Try different filters. Eg. ND 8 (with a long exposure), polarizer, a graduated ND or colored filters
From your menu set your camera to different modes eg. color settings to vivid or neutral,
I think one of the most under used skills as a digital photographer is the ability to work a scene. Don't just snap one or two photos at eye level and walk away. Work it! Memory cards are inexpensive and can hold thousands of photos, so don't be afraid to take fifty shots of the same scene. On an average morning photo-op I can take 400-500 shots easy and out of those I will probably get a half dozen or so worthy photos. Not to say there aren't other good ones in there, it's just that those ones stand out. If you take gigs of shot, changing it up using different techniques and gear it will give you more options to choose from when selecting your final images for post processing, printing or online posting.
Change It Up - Use these Tips to Work a Scene
Use Your Laptop on the Road or In the Field
While traveling or at a location where I may never get back to I always bring my laptop with me, it is a necessity. One for dumping memory cards and two for reviewing images.
All my photos look crisp and clear on my 3 inch camera screen but maybe not so good on the laptop big screen. You do not want to get home after being at a once in a life time photo op to find out that your photos are blurry or poorly composed. For me reviewing my work shortly after shooting gives me confirmation that I got what I wanted or I can see that something else I shot needs to be worked a little bit more to get that shot. If needed I have a second chance at reshooting it and getting it right. In the past I have learned the hard way, only getting home to see that a lot of potential images are no good. With today's technology these powerful, light weight, slim design laptops are easy to pack up with your gear and the battery will last all day to get the job done. So next time consider bringing your laptop on the road, reviewing your photos while still in the area can make the difference between bringing home postcard images or just memory shots.
Article and photos by Mark McCulloch / www.photopaddler.com