Parts Is Parts - The Beauty of Detail Shots
Everyone is doing it. Certainly the wedding photographers are doing it. In every wedding portfolio there are pictures of the bouquet and the rings and perhaps the wedding dress on its hanger. The newborn photographers are doing it, too. Tiny feet and tiny hands and tiny ears are too charming to pass up.
The architectural photographers certainly photograph the striking parts of a building that contribute to the grandeur of the whole building. And flower photographers can get quite wrapped up in pistols and stamens and leafs and bugs on leafs.
Street photographers should do it, too. In his excellent article, People and Portrait Photography Tips, written for National Geographic, Robert Caputo observes, “The details of the human body make great photographic subjects, either as expressions of ideas or emotions, as graphic shots, or as a way to say something about an individual.”
There is no place like home to start practicing. When my granddaughter Lucy was born, my daughter took a lot of pictures, most of them on her cell phone. Here is one that was not an exceptional shot, until it was post processed into a detail shot.
I have a grandmother’s mug with this picture on it. It is my favorite of the pictures.
You do not have to have a baby in the house to have opportunity. Hands fixing food or knitting, feet kicking balls or running, the reflections in sun glasses, all are opportunities for telling a story about a person in the moment.
Here are some things to look for when taking detail shots:
Can you create an emotion?
Can you hint at an interaction?
Can you create the sense of motion?
Can you get a message across about someone’s social status or where they are in the human life cycle?
Can you convey what someone does for a living or a hobby?
Writing a blog has several parts to it. Sometimes the easy part is the writing. The much harder part is finding the right pictures to fit into it. It took a long time to find the pictures for this blog. I think that is because street photographers are not often enough seeking the opportunities to take detail pictures.
If you haven’t taken detail shots of humans, go out and give it a try.