Taking A Different Look At Things

Written by stuestler on August 29th, 2009

It’s been a long month since I’ve posted here. Been a crazy busy time, shooting a project for a client and preparing for the launch of The Photo Mentor course.

We met for our first class session on Thursday, August 27th. Since part of the idea behind this class is the development of an online course, we meet for one hour each week and a portion of the class is delivered to each member via email.

Everyone received the preliminary lesson online, then on Thursday we met at a local business-retail-entertainment center, which has a lake, attractions for kids and adults and is a bonanza of visual stimulation and photo opportunities. What better way to stir up a little creativity!?

After a short introduction here’s the assignment everyone did: roam around the center and photograph whatever appealed to their eye. There are a multitude of opportunities to photograph people, things, animals, scenery and buildings at this place. Sounds overly simple doesn’t it?

Here’s the real meat of the assignment. Instead of just wandering around shooting one or two pictures of everything, really take the time to concentrate on just a few subjects. Engage your creative mind and look for every possible way to shoot the same subject.


Students at the photo mentor classStart by thinking about both horizontal and vertical compositions. Try getting close, as well as backing up and getting a wider view.

Instead of just standing and shooting from your own eye level, try to get above your subject. And below. Even try laying down and shooting from ground level.

When taking pictures of people – and animals – this is especially effective. We’re all used to seeing the world from our eye level, our perspective. How about kneeling down and photographing kids eye-to-eye at their level. It’s probably been a long time since you looked at everything from their perspective. 

The whole idea is to get out of your routine way of looking at the world, breaking those habits and making yourself think and see things differently.

The students are now emailing me their photos. We’ll critique their photos and share everyone’s results with each other, so everyone can learn and grow.

So if you’re feeling stuck and bored with your pictures, and are looking to expand your thinking outside of the everyday routine box. Give this a try – whatever your subject.

Just be forewarned – once you do, you may find things don’t all fit back inside that box!

Stu Estler

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