Who says you have to hold a camera just one or two ways?
If you have ever been bored enough to watch a sundial all day you probably have figured out what is different in these four shots. The rose, shot on a cloudy and rainy day was illuminated solely with the on-camera built-in flash of the Canon G10.
Shot one: taken landscape as most people hold the camera
Shot two: taken as most people hold the camera in portrait orientation or 90° counter-clockwise
Shot three: holding the camera upside-down
Shot four: rotating 90° counter-clockwise from upside down.
All images were cropped square and made approximately the same size. Every image but the first was rotated so that the final orientations were the same.
The difference is subtle yet decisive. The shadows move in each image. The prominently lit surface moves in each images as well. The difference in illuminated surface and shadows allows you to create different looks from one camera position, one exposure but many orientations or rotations.
If you’ve ever read my Crop Rotation series at the Holy Crop! blog, you know that many different looks can be obtained by doing a rotate during your crop. There you are merely changing the orientation of the image. Here you are actually changing the artificial lighting.
The winner for me, hands down, is the last image or the “backwards portrait” rotation. In terms of frequency, it is probably the third image on the list after the wildly popular Landscape orientation, the less popular portrait orientation, and just a head of the almost-never-used upside-down orientation. Even though the flash and lens are separated by only a couple of inches, it matters-especially in close-ups.
Images one and two cast too much shadow on the open petals at right. Image three makes a pyramidal shadow toward the top obscuring the best water droplet on the flower. Image four wins be default as it has the least shadows and the best-lit important elements.
Bottom line: when in close, when using flash, rotate that camera around the object and watch your shadows.
Rikk Flohr © 2010