DAY 7 – LEARNING BASIC PHOTO SKILLS: “BIG” and “A Point of view”

woman and man walking in park in front of eiffel tower
Photo by Dimitri Kuliuk on

Day Seven: “Big” — A Point of View

Today, let’s go big. Photograph something of massive size, inside or outside. Get creative with your shot: Capture all or just part of the subject. Place it in the foreground so it takes up the entire frame. Or shoot it from afar so it appears smaller — yet still prominent.

Below, the Pyramids of Giza stand in the background, behind a pile of rocks in the foreground:

Present something big through your eyes!

Today’s Tip: Once you’ve chosen your subject, experiment with your POV, or point of view. Earlier in this course, you’ve moved forward and backward, and perhaps climbed to a higher level to capture an image. Today, snap a photo from an unexpected angle.

Day Seven: “Big” — A Point of View

Not sure how to capture a shot from an unexpected angle? When you’re at a scene with your camera, move around. Study your setting. If you’re photographing a popular landmark, for instance, stand in a spot away from other people; discover uncommon vantage points. Point your camera at your subject from different angles and positions — swiveling LCD screens are perfect for this!

Consider these approaches:

  • Walk around your subject, if you can, to examine every possible perspective.
  • Crouch, squat, or kneel. Does this adjustment make your shot better?
  • Use something natural (window, tree, wall of a building, etc.) to frame your shot.
  • Get low, or better yet, lie on the ground — this is great for capturing skyscrapers.
  • Focus on a specific part of a person, object, or structure (instead of all of it) — or intentionally cut off a part of your subject or scene.
  • Place something in between you and your subject/scene.
  • Look over or through something — how does your view change?
Photo of the Eiffel Tower, from underneath, by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.
Photo of the Eiffel Tower, from underneath, by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

Remember, also, that point of view is about more than just your physical perspective:

For me, point of view isn’t just determined by our physical surroundings. It’s also the creative stance you take when you shoot. Developing your own point of view means looking at the world through different lenses — maybe literally, and certainly figuratively. Investigate the world, think about what you find beautiful, and don’t allow convention to dictate an answer.

— Photographer Lynn Wohlers

Wanderings, observations, and visual treats — that’s the essence of what I try to provide on my blog. I’m a visual person and I’ve had a camera handy most of my life, using it to document my observations as well as experimenting with it as an artistic tool.

Investigate the world, think about what you find beautiful, and don’t allow convention to dictate an answer.

Nature is my favorite subject, and since I’m new to the Pacific Northwest, my eyes are fresh, so you may see that sense of wonder in my work. I tend to look at the world from a different perspective, and I’m happiest when my work causes someone to see the world differently, providing a moment of awe and inspiration.

Point of view in photography refers to the angle or place from which you shoot. That encompasses more than you might imagine — there may be as many photographic points of view as there are moments to capture. We can point our cameras up or down, and we can place them on the ground or from above.

But there’s more. Think about where you point and focus — when you take a photo of a building above you, for example, are you sure it’s best to always focus at the top?

Or how about obscuring your point of view — putting a scrim of leaves or smoke (or whatever you might come up with) between you and your subject? How does that change the point of view?

Getting down on the ground and looking straight ahead will change the scale of the scene, creating a new point of view. I was thrilled when I bought a camera with a swiveling LCD screen (a screen that’s not fixed and can change its position), as it got me shooting really low. You can find them on both point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs — they’re one of my favorite features.

Framing your point of view with whatever is at hand is another way to offer a fresh angle on a common subject. Seattle’s famous Space Needle looks quite different when viewed through an Alexander Liberman sculpture, doesn’t it?

Try to approach your subject from an indirect point of view. In the image below, a California poppy dropped petals onto the paper I’d placed under a vase, and sunlight cast shadows of the flower across the fallen petals. Here, I focused on the shadows instead of the flower itself.

For me, point of view isn’t just determined by our physical surroundings. It’s also the creative stance you take when you shoot. Developing your own point of view means looking at the world through different lenses — maybe literally, and certainly figuratively. Investigate the world, think about what you find beautiful, and don’t allow convention to dictate an answer.

One cold winter day in a field, I noticed weeds poking through the snow, creating calligraphic strokes. That drew me in, and being curious and keeping an open mind, I found more. A torn piece of plastic packing material had blown into the weeds. Graffiti on the back of a building next to the field completed the picture — not a conventionally pretty image, but one that interested me and that I felt was worth my careful attention.

On the same day, plastic safety fencing tied to a chain-link fence caught my eye. Shot close up, the image is boiled down to repeating shapes, turning mundane materials into a graphic study. (Editor’s note: we’ll look for shapes, lines, textures, and patterns in our images in the next post.)

To increase the possibilities for different points of view, challenge yourself to rethink your ideas about what subjects are appropriate, and then challenge yourself again to find an unusual perspective on your subject.

Challenge yourself to rethink your ideas about what subjects are appropriate…

Winter frost caught my eye one day and led me into a field where someone had abandoned a goose they shot. Usually the birds we photograph are alive, and at eye level or above us. This one, though dead, was still very beautiful. Looking down at the patterns the feathers made against the grass provided a different point of view.

What strikes you about a scene? Stop and ask yourself what drew you in, and then find a way to exaggerate that element. In the following image, the vintage truck and its friendly owner both captivated me, but focusing on the truck’s grille created a stronger image than if I gave equal weight to everything in the scene.

Another way I’ve played with point of view is by breaking the rules when using my camera. I’ve moved my lens in and out while shooting, and I’ve even walked slowly around my subject while keeping the lens open (using a longer exposure in manual mode). I wanted to capture the spiky shapes of the palm leaves below, but a steady breeze prevented me from shooting them normally. So, I just went with the movement and watched what happened.

Point of view is all about having fresh eyes and being willing to experiment. If you’d like to practice shooting with a different point of view, take one of the ideas above and apply it in your own way. Show us a point of view you’ve never tried before.

Challenges to sharpen your POV:

Take a photo with something between you and your subject: a scrim, leaves, smoke, a fence, a plastic sheet, a veil, etc. while thinking about what you’re focusing on. Draw the viewer’s attention to where you want it to be. Do you want more emphasis on what’s between you and the subject, on the subject itself, or an equal emphasis on both?

Select a particular part of a subject — preferably not the most obvious part — and figure out how to emphasize that. Think about the truck grille shot above — how did I call attention to it within the photograph?

Snap a picture of a frequently photographed subject, like a flower or a person’s face, from an unusual point of view. Consider the images above of the petals and shadows, or the blurry palm frond. How can you create a shot that’s out-of-the-ordinary?

With the interest in close-up photography, take a look at macro lenses (click on the link in red).

Also, the other option is close-up filters. This is an inexpensive way to do close-ups on your dslr camera.

If you would like to become a master at adobe photoshop, then click here.

Understanding perspective and why it’s important:

Photo by Atharva Tulsi on Unsplash

Perspective in photography is very important, especially in taking photos of landscapes, and sometimes close-ups. The idea with perspective is to put something in the photo that will help the viewer get a better idea of how big the landscape is, or how far something really is from the camera. In the photo above, the man walking the railroad tracks gives you the feeling that the man has already walked a long distance, but still, he has a long ways to go.

Sometimes perspective gives you a false sense of the distance.

Can the eye do this naturally? No, this is something that you can play with in photography. This is because your photos are in 2D, not 3D. You can have a lot of fun with this as you can see.

This kind of photography is limited to your imagination. Try it sometime to help you understand perspective.

With all kidding aside, how do you use perspective in your landscapes? With some landscape photos you need to use perspective so you can tell how big everything is in the photo.

Photo by Weston Owen on Unsplash

If you did not have the building in the front, you might not know how big the rest of the buildings are, further down the road. Use something in the foreground to give you some idea of size.

people standing near high rise building during night time
Photo by Zaib Azhar 📷 on

Is this a photo of the people, or the building in the background. It’s that building. Everyone in the foreground is looking at the building. How big is this building? You get a great idea of how big it is by having the people in the foreground. Keep that in mind when trying to show size of something.

Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

Trees are especially important to show perspective. Now this tree, you can tell, is just a small tree, maybe 5 inches in height. But, is part of a bigger tree that has fallen.

Photo by Evan Leith on Unsplash

Some really good photographers “frame” their photos with a natural foreground, such as this photo above. This is just a natural way to use perspective, plus, make a better photo.

These are all great examples of “framing your photo”, but, is also a great example of perspective. The framing in the foreground adds to the dimensions of what you see in the background. Try framing your photos and see if you like them better.

Photo by Robert Murray on Unsplash

Want to know how big those trees are that you are standing in the midst? Shoot up, get the tree closest to you to be somewhat in the foreground. And now you know why those trees seem so big. Another great example of Perspective.


With the proper placement of your camera, you can use perspective to your advantage to make better photos. Putting a subject in the foreground, gives you a dimension of the whole scene that most people would miss. Also, learn to “frame” your photos. That just makes you look more professional and a nice touch of using perspective as well.