Shoot Diagonally: Photography News from Paris
On-The-Ground Reports from the Ultimate
Travel Photography Workshop in Paris
Dear Travel Writer,
The Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop has just begun in Paris. And I have to tell you, we sure wish you were here with us.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather. After days of rain, the sun is out. And so are the Parisians.
Photo opportunities are everywhere – young ladies sunning on the Pont des Beaux Arts…river barges bobbing in the Seine…old tweed-capped men playing boules in the park…a nun walking under the ancient arches of Place des Vosges.
The cafes are filled with people discussing politics…whispering in a lover’s ear…or simply enjoying a glass of wine or frothy cup of cafe au lait while watching life pass by…
…and these are the very images we’re starting to capture. At the Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop, we’re already learning the secrets of how to take a shot that’s not only “pretty”…but also “profitable.” There is a difference.
First, let me back up a bit. My name is David Morgan. It’s my job to let you in on some of the secrets that are being revealed here. Consider me your on-the-ground reporter.
The first thing I want to report is how shocked I am.
This afternoon’s session alone could have taken at least 5 years off of my learning curve – and my photographs have been published everywhere from Guatemalan newspapers to big-name New York book publishers. I even studied photojournalism at the university level…
…but one afternoon in a workshop with the Great Escape Publishing experts has convinced me that I have spent literally thousands of dollars on equipment I don’t really need…on wasted film due to “braketing”…not to mention all the failed shots that I didn’t have to miss.
And everything that I learned about photography in school? I can’t believe that I’m admitting this, but I learned more about composing an image in one hour with Rich Wagner than I did in a full semester in journalism school. He has a way of distilling the information you really need to know.
I am completely convinced that I could have at least doubled – probably tripled — my photography income, had I just known a few simple things. Simple things that someone with no experience whatsoever can master in no time at all.
In fact, halfway through a dinner of Moroccan couscous at Chez Omar, some participants who, just a few hours ago were completely new to photography, were already well on their way. I couldn’t believe the images I was seeing on the screens of their digital snap-and-shoots.
With that, I’d like to tell you about one simple strategy, one of many that we’re learning, that could turn a good picture into a great one. Even a very profitable one.
FREE PHOTO TIP #1: Use diagonal lines.
So often, we are tempted to put the subject matter of our photo “front and center.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, per se. It can make for a nice photograph. But maybe not a great one.
Here’s what the experts recommend: Look around you, and see what lines are available, whether a row of chairs, streetlamps, a handrail down a flight of stairs, or even a simple wall.
Lines are naturally pleasing to the human eye (and especially to a paying art director’s!). But don’t shoot the photo with the lines parallel or perpendicular in your frame. Instead, find an angle to shoot your subject so that the lines fall diagonally across your field of view.
Diagonal lines make a photo more interesting. The use of diagonal lines, whether a curb or a broomstick, shows a unique perspective, and may even help tell a story or portray a mood. These are the sorts of things a stock agent, art director or travel editor will look for when deciding whether or not to buy your photographs.
Most anyone with an auto focus can take a full frontal image that looks “good.” But it takes a skilled eye to shoot a subject in an interesting way…a way that could pay you many times over…
…or at least, that’s what the professionals want everyone to think. Turns out, it’s not that hard at all.
Try it. I have, and it has already made a noticeable difference in the quality of my images.
See you again tomorrow, and thanks for reading!
Writer and Photographer
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]