It doesn’t matter if you’re a wedding, product, food, or landscape photographer; shooting the same thing over and over again can get boring. And lead to unoriginal images. We tend to see what we have in front of us and photograph that one image, rather than think of the subject as a group of images. If you really want to put yourself ahead of the competition, or just want to add a unique spin to your own personal photos, you need to start thinking and seeing differently. Internationally acclaimed photographer and cinematographer Peter McKinnon explains how to change your way of thinking to take multiple shots of the same thing and make them all look different and phenomenal:
One of the biggest challenges in photography is trying to find a way to make the same subject look great over a series of different photos. You find the right angle to make it look the best it possibly can, but then you end up shooting a bunch of images that all basically look the same.
Change the Way You See an Image
As McKinnon says, you need to think in groups of images, rather than just the image itself. Think about the before, the after, the during, the experience, the packaging. Ask yourself, “what is it for?” and “how does it work?” Each of the stages of production and every question is a photo opportunity.
Let’s take a look at some different areas of photography and how you can change up the angle of the shot, add unique elements to the image, and go the extra mile to get the photos that your clients are going to freak out over.
Food Photography: Shoot the Entire Prep and Cooking Process
Most people just take photos of the final, prepared plate. That’s what you’re trying to sell, right? The meal. But, what about everything that led up to that plate? Think about all the individual ingredients that go into that meal. Shoot the ingredients all laid out on the counter. Shoot the cutting board and the cook’s hands chopping. Change the plating presentation; for example, put a finished salad in a wine glass instead of a bowl or plate.
Product Photography: Add External Elements to Complement the Object
This one is especially challenging because you’re often shooting just one object hundreds or thousands of times. How can you possibly come up with new, unique ways to make that object look different in every image? If you look at the challenge differently, you can see it as an opportunity to explore many different avenues and creative styles.
Work with a theme and incorporate that in the images. McKinnon uses the example of water as the theme and a deck of playing cards as the product. He drops the cards into a tank of water that is lit from both sides with external flashes, creating awesome images.
Wedding Photography: Make the Grand Gesture
We’ve all seen the standard shot of the rings in the box. That’s lovely, but here’s where you really have the chance to go the extra mile. It’s so easy to get a shot of someone polishing the rings, or of someone putting them in their pocket for safekeeping, and these are unique, memorable images. And, if you really want to impress, then take some initiative before the wedding day—if the bands are being custom-made, find out when and where that’s happening and shoot the rings being made.
You may have to put a bit more time and energy into it, but if you do something out of the ordinary, you’re going to put yourself ahead of the competition. Not only will your efforts be noticed, but your images are going to be so incredibly different and impactful. It’s not just about shooting the end product. Look at things from different angles and consider new perspectives for thoughtful imagery.
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