The Arc de Triomphe | It's A Matter Of Perspective

A wormseye viewpoint provides a dramatic perspective of the stairwell that leads up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

When it comes to photography I think perspective is the lost cousin within the composition family.

Needless to say this image also includes color, tone, texture, light, shadow, balance, pattern, repetition and line.

But it's the perspective from which the photo was made that has allowed all of those other elements of composition to be so strong.

Mantras For The Enthusiastic Photographer

Move the Subject, Move Yourself.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

I approach my photography through a series of photography mantras that I've coined over the years.

Move the subject (and/or) move yourself is one of them. It's a fundamental concept which provides a simple solution to improve your pictures.

If things aren't working, move.

Photography is a Physical Endeavor.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru
Toward Sacre Coeur, Paris

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By moving yourself and/or your subject you have the ability to open yourself up to a range of options including differences in lighting, background and perspective.

The mere fact that you're moving is often enough to fire the brain into action. And creativity so often flows out of action.

You know this already. Doesn't a walk around the neighborhood push stress back and make you feel better about yourself and what it is that had worried you?

Looking down a spiral staircase that descends from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Take the two images in this post. Both feature a stairwell leading to a landing on the top of the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

The image at the top of this post is made from what is referred to as a worms eye viewpoint.

Conversely, the bottom image, made from a birds eye viewpoint, shows the stairwell from above.

Personally I like the image at the top of this post. It's a cleaner design, more colorful and, to my way of thinking, more evocative.

The line of the handrail leads the viewer up through the image in a more definitive manner than it does in the image made from the higher viewpoint.

While I like the other photo I feel the addition of all that extra texture seems to overly complicate the image and, as a consequence, its success is diminished.

There's only so much the average eye/brain can deal with and it usually pays to keep things simple.

Paris Living, France

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Try A More Physical Approach To The Photos You Make

Of course I had to make both images to know which was best. And that involved moving my way up and down the steep staircase to actually make the photos.

Of the hundred or more folks that climbed the stairs during my time in the stairwell, I was the only one making photos.

You can certainly make photos like this on a family vacation. You just need any non-photographers in your party to cut you a bit of slack, every now and again, so that you can move around and find these interesting vantage points.

There likely to be among your favourite photos from the trip.

Next time you're out and about try taking a more physical approach to your photography. And remember, in the world of composition, perspective is your friend.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru