My “Looking Thru” photo technique

by Earl J Posted on December 11, 2010

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Here’s a way to breathe new life into your pictures – look at the subject you want to photograph and see if it might be improved by using what I call the “Looking Thru” technique.

First, I’m showing you a view of the garden we saw from our living room in an apartment we rented in Sintra, Portugal. Why not take a picture as we saw the gardens thru the window?

We’re still in Sintra for this second shot, “Looking Thru” the grill work of our apartment door that shows a neighbor’s home across the path.  The flowers make for a colorful accent.

“Looking Thru” an arch (in Gdansk, Poland) makes the third photo special in two ways – first by framing the subjects and secondly by shooting into the sun, making them silhouettes.

While visiting the Foto Museum in Porto, Portugal we saw the neighboring building through this grill work (the photo museum had previously been a jail).

This last shot, also taken through grill work, was from the seldom-visited second floor of the Tourist Information office in Lisbon, looking out on the famous Praca do Comercio (Commercial Plaza).

When you next have the opportunity, take some photos by “Looking Thru” and see if you like the results.


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  1. conniee4 Says:

    Great article Earl!!! I’ll have to try this!!! Thanks for sharing your idea!

  2. Joey Says:

    Loved your article Earl. Makes me think outside the box – I will for sure be giving this a try. How neat! I love the silouette one. They alll are super and makes one think and be creative!!

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    This is a great idea. Instant frame. What a great technique to pull out of my bags of tricks next vacation.

  4. BarbaraJ Says:

    I love your ideas and I have used them on vacations where we have buildings and open windows. I love your samples, great ideas.

  5. TammyM5 Says:

    Great photo idea, I need to do this more often. I have done it on a few things but never on a regular basis. It is a perfect idea! Thanks for the great article Earl!

  6. kathyell Says:

    Would you be willing to share the settings for these pictures? It would be interesting to see what the settings were to get such good light/dark contrast and the right depth of field to get focus in the foreground and background. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  7. DesignsbyAng Says:

    The title of “Looking Thru” is so perfect.
    I enjoy photographing subjects from many points of view and recently enjoyed doing the same at The Dayton Art Institute.

  8. Jean B Says:

    Ooo I like this article, Earl!! We will be in Europe this summer and I know there will be scenes like this that I will try and remember to get! They are so romantic looking!
    Thanks You!

  9. kniewohner Says:

    Stunning!! Such a different take on the scenery- quite literally. I love this idea. Have to try it out if the sun would ever start shining again here. ;)

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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