2.6 – Near & Far

Part 2 is a challenge for me. When I photograph people it’s a spontaneous thing, probably not even noticed by the subject. Now I have to work directly with someone. Direct them. I am definitely out of my comfort zone with this, so to plagiarise Morecambe & Wise I am going to do all of it, but not necessarily in the right order.

An opportunity arose to take some shots for the exercise on Near & Far. I’m pretty familiar with composition tools like the Rule Of Thirds, but this is the first time I’ve had to apply it in such a pre-defined manner. One thing I learned from this was that such shoots really need a printed checklist of the shots which need to be obtained!

I’m indebted to my friend Carol for her early morning modelling efforts on a cold but beautiful beach at Selsey.

Far + RightDistant, Carol positioned at the far right of the frame. The purpose of photographing someone at a distance like this is to make them a part of their surroundings. The trick is to maintain them as the subject, not just a feature of a wider scene. I chose this image as whilst there is plenty of interest, the sight lines all lead to Carol, and her gaze then takes you back out again. It’s a photograph of Carol on the beach, not a beach with someone on it.

Far + Left

Distant, Carol positioned at the far left of the frame. My lack of planning and poor directing resulted in me having very few shots to choose from for this composition. It’s my least favorite, mainly because Carol’s face is not visible. If only I’d got her to turn to her right!

Far + Centre

Distant, Carol positioned in the centre of the frame. This is quite similar to the first image, but I think it suffers from not having enough visibility of what Carol is looking at. Initially my eye is drawn directly to Carol, wanders left and right, finds the depth layering of the groynes interesting, and then I feel a bit frustrated that I can’t see more. Being able to generate a sense of frustration is maybe worth exploring in the future.

Mid + Right

Middle distance, Carol positioned at the right of the frame. After inserting this in the post I think I feel that this would be better cropped a bit. Taking off the left third removes some distracting elements – mainly the boat – which keep dragging my eye away from Carol and the weed covered post:

Mid + Right CROPPED


Mid + Left

Middle distance, Carol positioned at the left of the frame. Probably my favorite shot of the whole series. It’s close enough to see facial features, far enough away to place Carol in a scene. The golden early morning light really helps too, with a hint of fill flash to stop the weedy post being a black blob. I’d have liked bigger waves, Carol was happy with them as they were.

Close + Centre 2Close, Carol centrally positioned. I’m not sure about this one, but not entire sure why. Carol was looking up at a kestrel, so the pose is a bit odd maybe? I should have asked her to step back a pace so she was positioned clearly between two posts. And possibly the missing hands are playing a part as well – it’s an odd halfway between head and shoulders and full length. The fill flash is maybe a tad harsh – I need to learn how to use my Speedlite properly.

Close + Centre

Close, Carol positioned centrally. I like this better – a more normal pose, no fill flash, head and shoulders, bit of interest in the background. Cropping a bit off the left might be an improvement:

Close + Centre CROPPED

Close + Left

Close, Carol positioned to the left. I’m fairly happy with this one. I like the colours and the light, the way Carol stands out from the background whilst retaining enough elements in the distance to create interest.

Close + Right

Close, Carol positioned to the right. The kestrel came back for this one, and it’s resulted in a more natural looking pose from Carol. As a portrait of Carol I like it, but I think I still prefer to see some surrounding context.


14 thoughts on “2.6 – Near & Far

  1. I like your choice of venue and also the last photo. I agree it has no context but it is the best portrait. I found that the rule of thirds did not always work. If you had enough of the model in then other unwanted bits of the scene came into the photo.


    1. Thanks Pat. I agree, the Rule Of Thirds does not always work and like all other composition rules it’s there to be broken. I do find it is a good starting point though. Regards, Mike.


  2. Lovely setting and a good time of day. I too like the final image of Carol. Your thoughtful analysis and reflection of each shot is useful. A good practice. I was slow in getting to grips with this on the blog!


    1. Thanks Sarah. I’m trying to leave a couple of days between shooting and editing, then again between editing and posting, and I’m finding that the breaks really help to enable some critical analysis. Putting that analysis into the exercise then means in theory I’ll remember it in the future! Regards, Mike.


  3. Enjoyed reading this Mike, it’s thoughtful and I like your photos. I think your choice of early morning light really helped the overall mood and context. Although I know you said it was your least favourite I liked the second photo; I think that’s because I like the “mystery” of subjects in silhouette, in what was gorgeous light. I know we can’t see Carol’s face, but I was thinking “what is she thinking?”. Cheers, Andy


  4. Hi Micheal

    A lovely set of images taken in great light. I like your comment about leaving time between shooting and editing and then posting. I agree with you on this; sometimes the images need time to breath (like a good red wine!) before such decisions are made.

    Dave C


  5. Really good series there Mike. Your favourite one of the series is also mine. The lighting is superb. The first and the second last I like as well. Good photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice work Mike – love the early morning light. I like also that you’ve attempted to use some fill in flash too. Was this off camera? And did you use any kind of diffuser?
    Good series, I enjoyed reading through it.


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