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Happenings >> All Happenings

Seeing Through The Lens of Different Creatives

2020-03-30

Everyone sees things with different perspectives. Likewise in photography, the feeling adopted by each captured subject matter varies between people. We got three creative professionals to capture and share their unique creative perspectives through photography, while celebrating how photography can tell stories with any subject matter, point of view and style. If any of these styles featured tickle your facny, we've also included some quick tips to get you started - read on and get inspired!

 

Henry Lim, Digital Writer: Conceptual Photography

To an amateur photographer like Henry Lim, capturing a scene isn’t about waiting for the right moment (unlike wildlife or sports photography). Henry sees photography as a process that requires staging, conceptualising, working with ideas and a whole lot of experimenting to achieve the desired results. 


EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/200sec, 35mm


EOS RP, RF24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, f/4.5, ISO 3200, 1/60sec, 29mm


EOS RP, RF24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, f/4.0, ISO 6400, 1/800s, 29mm

Each of the 3 photos was derived from a different idea, had their own story, and were executed independently:

  1. Using the leaf’s unique shape and patterns to reveal and hide parts of the human face.
  2. The use of an everyday house plant for a wacky photoshoot was used to resemble metamorphosis
  3. The distorted facial features captured through the simple use of glass and water

If this style of conceptual photography appeals to you, here are a few takeaways to get you started:

  • Start by conceptualising an idea and create a mood board or mind map. What is your desired message, and is there a key experiment you would want to try and capture during the photoshoot? Will it be distortion through the refraction of glass objects or are you focusing more on the overall mood?
  • Pick your preferred subject. If human heads are your primary focus, research and learn how you can experiment around the subject to conceptualise ideas. How can you enhance the emotional aspect with your chosen subject?
  • Identify the elements you want as part of the photoshoot. Is it outdoors, does it require dramatic lighting, will it be underexposed, do you require props or symbols that represent the idea?

Read more on the basics of conceptual photography, tips and tricks and using emotions and elements in your photoshoot

 

Seah Yun Ting, Art Director: Documentary Photography

Art director, Seah Yun Ting, takes to the streets to capture her love for human interaction. In this mini-series, she explores a wet market in a bid to capture its everyday activities and interactions between the stall owners, customers, and products. She describes her style as documentary photography, but unlike the usual black-and-white option, she believes that keeping the colours make those captured moments even more treasured.

As documentary photography is used to preserve a significant moment in history, Yun Ting explains that her reason for photographing wet markets was because of its diminishing trade in Singapore. 


EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/85sec, 35mm


EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/2.8, ISO 500, 1/500sec, 35mm


EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/3.2, ISO 800, 1/125sec, 35mm

Though there isn’t a standard procedure one has to follow when attempting documentary photography, here are some rules that you should still stick to as a beginner:

  • If your take on documentary photography includes human subjects, developing people skills will help you more than technical capabilities. Get up-close and strike a conversation. Remember, your subject will only be most relaxed and natural in front of the lens when they are comfortable with you.
  • Get the message across. What are you documenting? What is your point of view in these images? Are they depicting a scene that speaks of a certain social issue, or are you bringing light to a lesser-known community?
  • Research, research, research. Find out where your subjects congregate, their behaviour, talking points and more. These will prepare you when approaching your subjects for conversation!
  • Visit the place before the actual shoot, familiarise yourself with the surroundings and the people for that more genuine moments and possibly in a more unique perspective.

Planning your first photoshoot? Here’s what you should bring in your travel camera bag.

 

Rhonda Wong, Graphic Designer: Minimalist Photography

A clean aesthetic is how Rhonda perceives the world through the camera lens. Minimalist photography often utilises no more than three different mixes of colour, eliminates any unnecessary elements, and keeps the overall photo clean and distinguished through simplicity - which can often be elevated through stunning compositions, lighting and the understanding of complementary colours.

This simplicity is often  One common photography genre that utilises minimalism is architectural photography. You can read the guide to minimalist photography in architecture here.


EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/3.5, ISO 100, 1/125sec, 35mm



EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/3.2, ISO 100, 1/800sec, 35mm


EOS RP, RF35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM, f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/200sec, 35mm

Otherwise, here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Creating a focal point through the use of contrast works well in minimalistic photography. Examples are using a contrasting colour to bring attention to your subject against a monochromatic background or the use of patterns like a circle in an image full of squares.
  • Use strong composition techniques to frame your image like the use of the frame-in-frame technique (shown in the image above) to lead your viewer’s eye to the subject.
  • The easiest way to start would be to start incorporating more negative space within your composition. Sometimes, less is more.

For composition-related topics, read more here: Centre and symmetrical composition techniques, diagonal composition and the Rule of Thirds.

Practice makes perfect and it takes time to find your photography style, subject and niche. Be experimental and ask for advice to further hone your technical and creative skills. If you’re thinking of setting up a digital portfolio (like an Instagram account), read on to how you can create your Instagram aesthetic here!