Recently, I’ve noticed a few people on my Facebook friends list who have taken up photography as a hobby after having purchased a DSLR. I think this is great and I’m all for experimentation. However, I’m noticing a theme in their photographic style that also happens to amateurs in video.
Everything is at a distance. Nothing has any meaning. It drives me crazy.
I think candids are the best shots. Shots from afar can capture the whole essence of a scene’s setup. When every single shot is from the same length, with the same framing, of the same non-action, it’s a moment captured that tells no story.
This happens in video too. All shots are from one distance with no variety. Shots are placed for the shot, and they lend nothing to the story. Cuts are made just to do so, even when they don’t drive the action or reveal anything about the characters.
This drives me absolutely crazy. I think the biggest thing for new videographers and photographers to learn is to get in close. Like, SUPERDUPER CLOSE! Physically get close to a subject. If the subject doesn’t want you in their space, zoom in. Capture a true emotional moment, not someone’s head centered in a frame.
Vary your shots to give yourself a way to build a rhythm in your scene in the edit or cover up icky spots. Try new things. Experiment. Just because you have the ability to create a nice blurred background, that doesn’t automatically make every single shot a masterpiece. You’ve mastered depth of field, now try playing with the other settings.
But most of all, try getting closer. Even an extreme closeup or two. Bring your viewer or audience into your frame with your subject rather than floating around a scene and silently observing from afar.