The Power of Moving 12 Inches

Photographers are obsessed with improving their work through new gear purchases, extra lighting, and better retouching, but there’s one trick that’s often overlooked: the power of moving 12 inches.I see it time and again when out shooting landscapes with friends. We’ll rock up on location, find a good spot to shoot from, and end up with wildly different photos. How could something that doesn’t move, (a landscape) taken at the same time look so different?When I shoot portraits and want to get a different look, I’ll pop up multiple backdrops, fiddle with lighting, reposition reflectors, get my model to pose differently, try different outfits, and so much more in a bid to get a variety of shots from the one shoot. But it’s my experience in landscape photography that’s taught me that simply repositioning the camera, even mere inches, can transform a photograph.Flower photographed from six foot tallLet me provide an example to show you what I mean. After staying up one night doing some astrophotography capturing Comet NEOWISE in southwest England, I decided to hang around for the 4:30 am sunrise (summer nights are short here in the UK). As soon as the sun popped up from behind the Somerset hills, a radiant, glowing, golden light basked the fields. Right in front of me were some wildflowers, which were backlit by the rising sun, and I wanted to get some shots. So I decided to shoot handheld with my Nikon D750 and my AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR III kept my settings the same throughout to show you how powerful simply moving a few inches can be. On manual mode, I set an aperture of f/4.5, shutter speed of 1/1,600 sec, and set Auto-ISO. I zoomed into 200mm to flatten the scene and push the background into a soft blur, which would allow the flower to stand out clean, and sharp. I also shot from the same position, only crouching further down, until I reached a squat.Shot From Six Feet TallMy first instinct was to crouch down. “Why am I crouching,” I thought to myself. And then I realized that experience has taught me that I needed some flare in my photo to bathe the frame in orange light, thereby showing that the flowers weren’t just backlit, but backlit by a rising sun. It was the shooting angle that was making all the difference. So, I thought I’d test this out by standing back up.

%d bloggers like this: