What else can I say? I am simple man, I like curves (and, no, there are no connotations of any kind tied to this statement, well, OK, may be just a little). Whenever out on a shoot there are several elements you can look for to enhance your compositions. For me, personally, the number one element of design I strive to capture is the curve. It’s beautiful, it’s sensual, it’s soft yet instills energy in your images.
This is a tip that is equally valid when you shoot wide angles as it is when you aim for more intimate compositions. When I headed out to the Ottawa train station on Sunday, I had a fairly good idea of what the shot I wanted to get: a wide angle composition that nicely captured the structure of the stairs leading to the quay. It was simply a matter of framing the rails in such a way that the spiral leads your eyes down the staircase and into your composition.
Now still keeping with the wide-angle theme, there is nothing that says you have to keep your camera level or straight. There is nothing preventing you from following the natural flow directed by the curves you are shooting. Here, you have to use the distortion of the wide-angle lens to your advantage and accentuate the curve. There is no recipe, I just get there and experiment to my heart’s content. I probably shot close to 80 shots that day only to keep 7-8 at the end (which I would still consider a good day!). Here I would recommend that every now and then you stop, step back and chimp a bit, take a long look at your shots, see what you like, what you like less and see if there is more you would want to work on. It’s a lot easier to take more shots on the spot than have to come back later (specially if you only have one shot at it!).
Now if wide-angle distortion accentuates curves, telephoto compression can allow you to bring together elements in a more 2D composition where curves take on a different look. The photo above and the follow examples show you just that.