Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Business of Having A Different Perspective

If everyone has the same perspective, then how are you going to differentiate yourself?

Today I was on assignment at The White House. The President was welcoming the NCAA National Championship Kansas University Jayhawks to the Rose Garden, as he does all chamionship teams.

When I walked into the Rose Garden, with my colleagues, I surveyed the landscape of the setup.

(Continued after the Jump)

I immediately "laid claim" to my position, near the center, in the rear. Then I took a step back - literally, to the corner of the garden, and contemplated the setup. All of my colleagues, save for two, were in the back. They all wanted the straight-on shot. I contemplated some more. Then I went to the corner closest to the podium, traditionally known as the cutaway position, because of it's ability to capture a side-angle on the goings-on. Here, one long colleague of mine was positioned. I contemplated this angle, and decided that, if everyone else was going to get the head-on shot, I'd like to do something different - take a different perspective.

I also concluded that, when the President was done making his remarks, he would turn around - with his back to the audience, and greet the players behind him, although I didn't know if they would be on the same level as he was, or stacked up on the stairs. Yet, I knew I'd get a side angle.

Then I walked around again to the back, and realized that the President's podium would be obstructing all the shots from the rear of the President interacting with the team. That sealed it for me - stick with the side angle, even when almost everyone else was in the back.

True to form, the image above, when viewed from the back, had the podium blocking much of the frame (see the setup/test shot below):

I had thoughts that I might make a few frames from the front, then a few from the back, but when the players came out, and those making the presentation (shirt, hat, ball) were all on the right side, that clinched it for me to remain where I was. Further, if you triangulate where my back-position is relative to where the image at the top was made, the podium would have been smack in the middle of the outstretched arms between the President and the player on the far right - who happens to be headed to the NBA. (Use the barely visible flag in the top image to compare to the flag's position and the steps in the test image above.)

Without question, my colleagues making images from the rear made great images. Mine isn't, per se, better, it's different. It's a different perspective, which will make for something unique that I was able to bring to the table for this assignment. Here's to hoping my editors agree.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

11 comments:

Chris C said...

John-

You can never argue taking a chance- especial when it produces a solid photo. However it never hurst to have some insurance like a second shooter or a safe shot should things not fall into place as you would hope.

Keep blogging, I'll keep reading and sending people your way.

Dennis Murray said...

Would you have approached it the same way if it was the first time you were at a Rose Garden presentation?

I definitely agree - changing perspective in a situation where there are many photographers present can be a winning formula even on just a pragmatic level. (Anytime I shoot road racing if I end up in a cluster of photographers,I start thinking about where else to shoot since I'm taking the same shot they are.)

Daniel Berman said...

It just goes to prove that looking for a different picture and going where other photographers are not usually pays off. I keep this concept at the back of my mind whenever I get the chance to cover news and sports.

Thank you for the story John.

Daniel

Whiskey Boy in New York said...

Different Picture, Different Perspective, Same scrum of photographers on a photo op - Look up "different perspective" in the dictionary - answer - David Burnett.

Chris said...

Timely post. I've been thinking along these lines myself. At my typical shoots I've gotten into a rut with my standard shooting location, and have been thinking about finding a new perspective. Probably ought to stop thinking and start doing, eh? ;)

Anonymous said...

John,
This is a restatement of the AFP mantra when the North America operation started getting legs in 1986. We loved kicking the AP's butt by giving our shared clients something besides the same old, same old.

Tim said...

Changing your regular angle is someting I strive to do daily. I work for a chain of weeklies with competition with other another chain of weeklies and our local daily. I may not always make the right guess, but I try to make sure my stuff looks different from the daily and beat the other weekly to new angle. The daily shooters seem to take the safe angle most of the time.

Fotografo said...

Changing perspective is always a nice exercise. You have to train your eye.

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Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! thanks a lot! ^^

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