Look Close, Look Back and Look Up

by Earl J Posted on July 02, 2010

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If you want to turn your good photos into great photos, let me share an idea with you that has helped me in my photography. I call it the “Look” challenge as I check to see if my picture can be improved by Looking Close, Looking Back or Looking Up.

These first two shots were taken at Taliesin West, a school in Arizona started by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I followed the Rule of Thirds for the first shot, but the small sculpture is lost among buildings, trees and fence. For the second I tried Looking Close and featured the sculpture that now seems larger than life and instead of being lost now frames a building in the school.

The next two photos are from a ceremony that honored American service men who helped bring freedom to the country of Luxembourg during World War II. Of course I wanted to take a photo of the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg during the award ceremony. Then I remembered to try Looking Back and I captured the wonderful faces of some of the Luxembourg citizens in back of me who were watching the event.

My last two pictures were taken in the sculpture garden of Karl Milles in Stockholm, Sweden. First is a straight-on shot of a sculpture that is kind of lost among the trees while the second is of another sculpture in the garden that shows how Looking Up can improve the composition and turn an ordinary photograph into something special.

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  1. ElleSnaps Says:

    Excellent example photos. I will be on the ‘look’ from now on. Great article!

  2. Joey Says:

    Really interesting article Earl with wonderful examples of photos – one can really see a difference. I wil take your advice too and be on the ‘look’ for more creative ways to capture my photos.

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    Just stepping left or right of your subject can make a big difference in your composition.
    Turning the camera can make a big difference too.

  4. crazybabydaisy Says:

    Great advice ! I esp love your “look back” tip and example picture! Lucky you to have been able to attend that wonderful event! http://travelswithcrazybabydaisy.blogspot.com/

  5. angies5 Says:

    Love the “look back” technique! I have never thought of it this way. I will definitely incorporate this into capturing memories. Thanks!

  6. Merry Mac Says:

    awesome tips! I am definitely going to use it on my upcoming trip. I would like some advice…I have a digital point and shoot camera: should you always set it to take pictures with the most megapixels?? I will be traveling in Europe and what to have great pictures for my photo book, what should I do? Thanks!

more about Earl J

I'm a long-time film photographer, starting with a darkroom in my parents' fruit-cellar when a teen-ager. I fought the change to digital at first, but no longer. I've become a convert and Shutterfly has been my on-line provider since 2002. Since then I've placed (as I write this) 135 orders for prints, enlargements, calendars for every year and 42 photo books in different sizes. I'm very pleased with the top quality of all Shutterfly products.

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