It's A Matter Of Perspective

A wormseye viewpoint provides a dramatic perspective of the stairwell that leads up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

When it comes to photography I think perspective is the lost cousin within the image composition family. Needless to say this image also includes color, tone, texture, light, shadow, balance, pattern, repetition and line.

Move Yourself, Move The Subject

I approach my photography through a series of photography mantras that I've coined over the years. Move yourself, move the subject is one of them. It's a fundamental concept which provides a simple solution to improve your pictures. Put simply, if things aren't working move.

Photography is a physical endeavor (another one of my mantras) and by moving ourselves and/or our subject we have the ability to open ourselves up to a range of options including differences in lighting, background and perspective.

Looking down a spiral staircase that descends from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Take the two images in this post. Both feature a stairwell leading to a landing on the top of the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The image at the top of this post is made from what is referred to as a worms eye viewpoint. Conversely, the bottom image, made from a birds eye viewpoint, shows the stairwell from above.

Personally I like the image at the top of this post. It's a cleaner design, more colorful and, to my way of thinking, more evocative. The line of the handrail leads the viewer up through the image in a more definitive manner than it does in the image made from a higher viewpoint.

While I like the other photo I feel the addition of all that extra texture seems to overly complicate the image and, as a consequence, its success is diminished. There's only so much the average eye/brain can deal with and it usually pays to keep things simple.

Next time you're out and about try taking a more physical approach to your photography. And remember, in the world of image design, perspective is your friend.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru