Next time you go to Disneyworld, get a shot of Snow White’s shoes. And next time you photograph your kids at the beach, take some time to shoot the crab hiding behind the sea oats. Not every shot involves someone smiling at the camera in front of a cool background…and you don’t have to travel to exotic places. The world is full of fabulous everyday stuff that makes great images. You just have to keep your eyes open.
Take this shot of thread, for example. I found myself bored while on a shopping trip where I didn’t really belong. So, I grabbed the camera and looked for neat stuff to shoot in the store. This pile of thread, buried in a dark corner in the back of the store, made an interesting shot (not to mention making the shopping go faster). All I really did was point the camera and shoot.
There are a few things to keep in mind. Usually, naturally occurring things look best in natural light. Try to avoid the flash except for fill. When it is dark, use a high ISO setting, if your camera allows. You probably won’t be able to get everything in focus, but that’s alright. The soft focus on the spools on the bottom left adds depth.
Try different angles. Part of what makes this shot work for me is that it is not straight on. The angle created with the camera helps create a flow and movement. Notice some of the threads are unrolled and at different lengths. Don’t fix that kind of thing. This shot would be pretty bland if all the spools were perfectly aligned and perfectly straight. Imperfections can be your best friends. Embrace them. Add to them.
One other really important tip for this kind of photography is you will need a camera. If you find yourself stuck shopping for fishing tackle or lamp shades or whatever doesn’t interest you, and your camera is at home in the closet… well, I’m sorry, but you’ re gonna just have to be bored. Take your camera. When you least think you will need it might be when it becomes the most fun.