“Thinking outside the square” is a term commonly used in photography circles.  I like to think it refers to the opportunity – and the challenge – that those working in the creative field have to break the rules!  When so much of our life is governed by rules and regulations, including both the technical and aesthetic aspects of photography it would seem, it is fantastic to take a step outside of those rules and experiment once in awhile.

A few tips for taking photos that are a little bit different:

  • Don’t take everything from eye level, try an unusual point of view or perspective.
  • Try different lighting techniques: back-lighting, silhouette, sun flares and low light.  How about “light painting” by using a torch or similar to “paint” light into your image during a long exposure…?
  • Experiment with extreme wide angle (such as a fisheye) or macro lens – just for a different look.
  • Got anything interesting you’ve always wanted to “mount” your camera on for an unusual perspective?  The new and very competitively priced “GoPro” range makes mounting a camera onto almost anything – for stills or video – an absolute breeze.  (Though personally I still prefer to use an SLR – excessive insurance policy aside I’m pretty sure my 5D leads a more exciting life than I do)!
  • Use a slow shutter speed to expose your image differently, to pan a moving object, create softness or blur, or to experiment with low light situations.
  • And lastly, a photo doesn’t always have to be an exact record of a visual thing or place.  It is merely a means of communicating your impression of that thing or place.  Check out the work of New Zealand impressionist photographer Eva Polack for a really different way of capturing the world around her.

Here are a few slightly different shots from my archives to get you inspired…

All images copyright Chris McLennan.

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3 comments so far

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  1. Good article. Very well written

  2. Great images, in particular I love the skateboard image. It is such a unique angle. Did you mount the camera?

    • Hi Cathy

      Yes, Chris mounted his camera onto the skateboard using a Manfrotto Magic Arm. These are great little devices that come in a number of different sizes, and Chris regularly uses them to mount his camera in weird and wonderful places!!


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