dynamic composition – changing your viewpoint (model – Carrie)

dynamic composition – changing your viewpoint (model – Carrie)

Near the end of the recent photo session with Carrie, I walked across the street to find another angle. Walking back, I noticed the sun just dipping behind the roof of this old train station. I thought it might flare interestingly if I caught the sun just on the edge there.

The problem was that I had to step into the street a few times when there was a lull in the traffic. The angle was a tough one since I had to, or rather, wanted to keep my camera at ground level to shoot up. I wanted the flare, and I wanted this angle to accentuate Carrie’s legs.

I resorted to stepping into the road, crouching down, pre-focusing, and then holding my camera away from my eye at ground level. There was no way I was going to lay down in a busy street! It took three tries, each with a series of images, until I “blindly” got the composition the way I wanted it .. with the right amount of flare.

Playing around with the controls in ACR (similar to Lightroom), got me to a retro- faded look I liked. The processing hopefully complements the sun-kissed image and add to the overall feel of the photo.

Settings:  1/250 @ f5.6 @ 200 ISO  //  no additional lighting
Equipment used:  Nikon D3;  Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S  … at 24mm

8 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1 says

    Your pre-visualization skills are great. You know what you want out of the image in your head, and then you try to seek it out, without putting yourself in harm’s way. It’s something I need to work on.

    In NYC, I sometimes see some tourists get onto the street to take pictures of tall buildings and then do not get off the street when the traffic light changes. Needless to say, they get honked at by vehicles. You’re doing this the safe and correct way.

  2. 2 says


    Great shot as always! Question: If there were no additional lights, and the scene is backlit, how did you get her perfectly exposed without blowing out the highlights (or maybe you did, but from what I can tell everything looks in range). Reflector?

  3. 3 says

    Lee, there are several things at work here regarding how the light appears.

    I specifically wanted the look of the sun just peeking over the edge at the top. This causes some amount of flare, but I can now control how much.

    Flare will flatten the contrast.

    The scene is entirely lit by indirect daylight, with some back-lighting. The light itself is quite soft. No strong shadows.

    Furthermore, I could control my contrast to a good extent in post-processing. The black point, fill light, brightness and locals and overall contrast all affect the final image.

    And no, no reflector.

    Neil vN

  4. 4John says

    Carrie is a gorgeous model, but this point of view – down low and wide angle – is very “generous” to her figure. I learned to avoid this the hard way…

  5. 6 says

    Cool wide angle shot Neil. I am just wondering whether or not you have picked up a copy of the new nikon 24mm 1.4 yet? I got it a couple of months ago and find it to be spectacular. Also I want to thank you for the almost daily insight you provide on this site. I feel yourself, David Ziser and Joe McNally are the best three sources on the internet for all things flash related. I also really appreciate the fact that you do not over photoshop your wedding pictures or pile on the actions to hide bad exposures. Thanks again. Jason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *