The window to the world

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Some people do say that photography represents a window to the world, and that may be so. However, thinking about windows (the building kind, not the computer kind) can help make your photographs much better than before, too.

Let us have a look at the way you can make windows work for you. By the way, this week’s exercise is good for anyone with any camera. No fancy dials to twiddle, f stops to select or shutter speeds to monitor. This is real point and shoot stuff, but you will come back with some good shots. Guaranteed!

The first way we will use a window is the window of your car. The trick here is to sit in the passenger’s seat with the window open (sorry, autofocus often does not work through glass) and photograph the world as your driver takes you down the roads and sois of your home town. Wide angle lenses are the best to choose if you have a choice, but you will find that you can get some very different shots as you drive slowly along. What happens is that your speed becomes very slow, compared to any moving target subject – for example, a motorcyclist, but your speed is very much faster than the background. The end result will be a sharp shot of someone on the motorcycle in front of a totally blurred background.

With this type of shot you will have people with their hair streaming out behind them and lots of action without a cluttered background. The secret is to make your speed as equal as possible to the subject’s rate of travel. This way you do not need fast shutter speeds to “stop” the action as your relative speed to each other is zero!

While you are in the car, take a shot looking into the exterior rear vision mirror. Sounds crazy, but you can get some very interesting shots that way too!

The other “window” shot you should look at taking is the classic “frame within a frame” type of shot. Incorporate the window frame in your shot so that you are looking at the subject of the photograph through the window and you instantly have got a winner, but you must remember to include the frame in the shot. This technique never fails! Believe me.

Contrasting the smooth complexion of a young girl with the rough wall and window frame will add even more interest to the shot. Remember that by putting contrasts and textures into a picture you increase impact of the shot itself.

Put the subject in the window frame at the intersection of thirds in the shot (one third in from either side and one third up or one third down from the bottom or top) and you have now produced a classic shot with perfect placement and great impact.