Photographing Metal: Finding Ideas and Compositions

To a bystander, photography seems like a simple task. They may feel it’s only a matter of pointing the camera to the subject and pressing a button. But ask anyone with some photography experience and you’ll know how far this perception is from reality. You need to make a lot of technical and artistic decisions before you point the camera or press the button. And those decisions determine how compelling your photographs come out. But again, knowing what you want to photograph and how you want to compose takes practice. If you’ve been struggling with finding ideas and compositions in photography, today we’ll have a look at how a pro does it. We have photographer Roger Lowe who shares his entire thought process when composing and taking a photograph:

A very interesting thing about Lowe is that he doesn’t simply show up at a location and then think about what to shoot. In fact, his thought process begins even before leaving home. Looking up the weather beforehand he gets an idea about what the lighting conditions will be and how he could potentially shoot creating stories with the subjects. This helps in narrowing down his subject choice and allows him to be clear about what he’ll be shooting. He also uses these variables to decide on the film, camera, and other gear to take along. Sounds like a great approach!

“I’m not just pointing and shooting. I’m actually looking through the viewfinder and seeing what I want in the shot.”

Again, once on the field, it’s not just about photographing your subject as soon as you come across one. As a photographer, it’s up to you to study the interaction of light with your subject, and the interaction of your subject with its surroundings. As you can see in the video, Lowe looks at the contrast, the shapes, patterns, and many other factors. You can also see him deciding on his aperture based on where he wants to draw attention. Lastly, he doesn’t just shoot at eye level; he’s not afraid to go down low.

Besides these, there are a lot of other valuable insights that Lowe shares in the video. Be sure to watch the complete video and you’ll definitely learn a lot from his work process.

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