Perspective in Photography: One Beach, Four Styles | Christian Cannon | Skillshare

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Perspective in Photography: One Beach, Four Styles

teacher avatar Christian Cannon, Photographer and Owner, Seacannon Photography

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Your Assignment: Photograph a Place in 4 Perspectives


    • 3.

      Prompts 1 and 2: Up High, Down Low


    • 4.

      Prompt 3: With Yourself


    • 5.

      Prompt 4: With a Tool


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


    • 8.

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About This Class

Explore a California beach with photographer Christian Cannon, and learn his 4 favorite photography prompts for inspiring creativity and imagination when capturing a place. The prompts — up high, down low, with yourself, and with a tool — are a fun challenge for photographers of every level. Each prompt will push you into a different mindset, helping you see a place from new perspectives and with fresh eyes. Plus, along the way, Christian reveals some favorite camera gear, editing apps, and clever "hacks" to keep the class fresh and fun. Get ready to get creative!

Meet Your Teacher

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Christian Cannon

Photographer and Owner, Seacannon Photography


Hi there! My name is Christian and I am a creative consultant! What that means is I help businesses and creatives find creative solutions to help them get from where they are now to where they want to be! With my bachelor's and master's degrees in clinical psychology, I love seeing the world from different perspectives!

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1. Introduction: My name is Christian Cannon, and we are at the Palos Verdes Cove in Palos Verdes, California. Today, we're going to be talking about perspective, an up high shot, a down low shot, a shot of yourself, and then a shot using a tool, and we're going to get them all in this one location. I grew up down here and I grew up surfing. My dad will always said it surfing is the most unique sport in the world, because as soon as a wave crashes, because of the sandbars underneath ocean always moving, that wave will never ever be ridden again, nothing like it will never be the same. There'll be something close but that identical wave will be gone forever. So, surfing was always fun, catching a unique wave like that. Then when I started taking pictures, it made capturing a moment like that awesome. I like the up high shots and the down low shots because they allow you to come to a new appreciation of your location. The up high shots give this huge, vast picture of where you're at and what you're doing, so people can get a good idea of the space you're working with, and then the down low shots allow you to appreciate the specifics and the finite aspects of your location. I like the self shots, they challenged my perspective because I hate being in front of the camera. These shots could be just a straight up stereotypical selfie of yourself. It could be of a shadow, it could be of your feet, but they're a good way, if you're like me being used to sitting behind the camera to now force yourself to in a matter of speaking, get back in front of it, and the last one is using a tool. The purpose of using a tool is not to make the tool the subject, but the tool to be a new lens in which you can see the subject in a unique way. We're going to be broadening one's perspective in finding unique ways to go outside of your comfort zone. 2. Your Assignment: Photograph a Place in 4 Perspectives: Today were going to be talking about perspective. An up high shot, down low shot, a shot of yourself, and then a shot using a tool. You can do them in any place at any time of any subject. I'm really excited to see what you guys come up with. I'm going to be broadening one's perspective and finding unique ways to go outside of your comfort zone. 3. Prompts 1 and 2: Up High, Down Low: So, this is a good example of an upper high shot of an up high shot. The reason why I like this shot is because I can go down there and take hundreds of photos from down where those rocks are, take photos of the ocean, take photos of the waves splashing, take photos of the rocks, take shots from where I stand, but you can't get this entire image from down there. You might be able to have someone on their own, compile all the images together, and create this in their mind, but it'll never do justice until you see the shot itself. Sometimes with these shots I noticed that I'm still too close up. I have to see if there's any other options. It looks like, not really, nothing higher up, but this one doesn't give a good idea of what's going on. So, this, as you can clearly see is a very high up location. Just paints a whole new picture for whoever looks at the image. Sometimes it can just take you away further than any of your other shots. So, this is where combining an up high shot with the down low shot, especially right next to each other. They just gave you two different side of the same exact coin. You get to appreciate the micro details of the subject and then you get an up high shot and you get the macro details, you get the whole, the vast picture, everything in its entirety. You just get a new appreciation for a location and for your subject, whatever it might be. So, this is an example of one of the down low shots. My personal preference, I like to get shots with either still water or the reflection of the water. Sometimes you have to be willing to gamble getting yourself wet or if you have a case. So, this type of shot usually requires me to drop my phone down as low as possible, and I can always take a gamble and just let it go right underneath me and see what I come up with, but I'd rather be a little bit more intentional about what I'm shooting. So, here with this water, I could stand a little ways off, get a shot or even see the water phase tilted down a little bit, see some of the rocks, it looks kind of cool. But with all this in the background, these huge mountains, if there's a way in which I can incorporate the water, the rocks, maybe even a way that it's coming, and the mountains behind it, I will. So, that just comes down to the angle in which your camera is at. So, what I'll do is I usually use with the water, I use my fingers as a sign to see how close I'm getting to the water. Once my fingers get wet, I don't go any further. Always take a few extra shots, you never know if you might have moved your finger a little bit or moved your camera and something gets out of focus. Here's a shot that incorporates the ripples of the water moving, the rocks that are really close, and the huge hills behind it. That just brings a new appreciation to the small details of the location, and so, there's more of that to come, whether that's more pictures of the rocks or of the dirt or if you get a like a flower from the side or even getting close to the water walls flashing. This type of a shot can be another example of an up high shot too as well. The feel that you want to give those who see your photos with these up high shots is a big picture feel. You want them to see the whole amount of what's going on. So, sometimes, you don't necessarily have to climb up super high to get an image of all of what's going on, sometimes you can just come to a unique spot in your location. There's that perfect angle that shows multiple aspects of your location. So, we got the water, we still have the rocks, we still have the hill. So, the hills way in the background, so you can see all of it and I'm not necessarily any higher up than I usually am. That's an example of one of the shots that you kind of have to work for to get up high. It's up to you if it's worth it getting a cooler shot, you have to climb a little bit. I guess here's some cool little pools that we can get the low down shots on. So, I want to specify the difference between a micro shot and the low down shot. Sometimes the low down shots can have a micro effect and be focused really close in, but they also want to have background, they want to have depth, and they want to add more perspective. Certain micro shots, they don't care as much about the depth, they care about the one individual item. So, what I want here is I want to be able to get some shots of this water, but they're not just of the water, not just of the little drops, not just of the rocks underneath, but I also want to be able to get shooting this direction towards the sunset as well and incorporate more than just one thing into the shot. Sometimes all you can do, especially on a day like today, whether that's a lot of water, whether you decide the location it's higher up, all you can do is take a shot down. What makes it different is that sometimes it requires you to do a little bit more work, get a little bit wet, but it changes the perspective. Here's another shot, I shot it myself, but see get some water splashing. 4. Prompt 3: With Yourself: The thing I like about shots of yourself, they humanize the photographer. There's many a times where I'll see a really beautiful photo. I want to know about the person who took that shot, or where they're at. I know that selfies are made fun of now, and they're doing for fun, and somewhat of a joke. But, I think there's an artistic way to do it, artistic but fun. So, we're going to take one of the self shots here. Stereotypical self shot is from where I stand. These usually show off like a number of things. Sometimes people use it to show off what they're wearing, what they're standing on, or what they're standing over. So, this one might be a little bit of everything. Rock in a pair of Roc Nation Jeans, or Vans, this could be standing on a rock, or this could be standing over this ledge. Okay. Another one that I like to do involves having a tripod, or just the ability to set up your phone on a good angle. Here, we'll use just a little tripod from JOBY. It's called their GorillaPod, set it up and you've got a free App called GorillaCam, where there's a pro version if you don't want those ads. You can set it up to take a certain amount of photos every couple of seconds. The two things you have to think about here are focus, since you're setting up the camera, and then, making sure that everything's centered. So, I know that I want to be on the edge of that rock. So, I need to make sure that in this setup, it stands perfect. Make sure everything's in focus. I know that it's set up right now to take a photo every five seconds, and then a total of five photos. So, then I can just hit start. Starting to snap away, and I walk up to my location. I'll wait here for at least five seconds, or until I get splashed, walk back, take a look. That's an easy way to just basic self timer, put it up. You can either use a tripod, or sometimes if you got a case, it's good enough for whatever, you can just literally set it up against the rock. I'm going to do the same thing for you, and go exactly wherever you need to go. There's a cool location over here that we can do under the shadow of yourself. Things I like about these types of shadow shots, especially from when I take him, it shows up a little bit of what I'm doing to get the picture. If we look down at the shadow now, definitely stand on uneven ground, a little bit higher, shows how tall and lanky I am, and you do whatever you want to. From here, you can do a little jump shot to something as straight as possible. There was always a bit of a gamble, so be careful with those ones. Most of the shots I find that I have to do with the shadow, I usually just get lucky when I come across them into my goal. Let's go back there, I remember seeing this beforehand. But, if I'm looking for it specific, you have to map out a higher ground, or depending on where the Sun's out. Sun's a little bit higher up right now. So, you have to have a higher locations for the shadow to be on the ground, whereas once it's going to be sunset, it can be anywhere up on a wall. So, another type of self shot of yourself that I like, is like when you get in the waters, splash under my feet. So, you can tell the majority of the subject here is not as much the water way down in the bottom, it's a little bit more about what's directly underneath my feet. So, it's good with these shots too to make sure that you're tapping the location that you wanted to focus on, right off the bat when I held my phone down, it was focusing something on a whole different corner of the screen. So, you just tap the screen, the yellow box comes around, lets you know what it's focusing on. Let's get a few shots. These can be taken away further up, or I can zoom down closer. These instantly change what the subject is. Someone might see this type of shot and think, I want to know what location I'm at, like where are these rocks, where's this water. But, the closer I zoom in, the more of the focus is drawn to the shoes themselves. Same exact shot, different perspective, and some people view them, they have a whole different outlook on them. Another type of shot that I liked, it involves water. That some people do is the hand holding out shot. Put the camera well on your arm, some people have been doing recently, where they're holding someone else's hand. There could be what they're holding in their hand, it could be what they're reaching out towards. So, if you're willing to risk out here by the water, like getting splashed a little bit, there's this type of shot, that's like what's called like a wave composer shot, people call it on Instagram. They get to look like your one hand's making the waves do what they're doing. It's always a bit of a gamble, or you can easily just grab some water and toss it in there. You can find some cool old glasses, take a selfie shot of yourself that way. 5. Prompt 4: With a Tool: So, one of the tools that I like to use that really helps capture a moment in a unique way is old vintage cameras. So this camera, you can look through the viewfinder on the top and then see whatever is directly out in front of it. I love it because you can take a really awesome picture of the camera itself from above. The purpose of this tool shots is not about the camera itself, I'm not here to promote this camera. It's a very cool camera, don't get me wrong but I want to talk about the photo, its subject which is the sunset. This is the camera, just a cool tool in which I can see it. You see what I mean? So, some people might be drawn to the camera itself but it's more about capturing the photo in a unique way. I mean capturing the subject of the sun in a very unique way. So, you can use it on the ground like this and if you'd like to, you can hold it up in your hands. You got three-in-one, an up-high shot, selfie shot, using a tool, boom! So, here we go. So, this is one way in which you can, here's one tool that you can use. Close this back up. Another tool that I like to use is this Instax camera here. Polaroid went out of business but Fujifilm created their own Instax cameras which aren't Polaroids technically, but we all know they're Polaroids. Impossible Project also brought back some Polaroid film so however you want to do it. So, one thing I want to do, so I'll just take a photo. Take a second one facing this way. One of them has a little bit of a blue dot from the sun. i guess the sun was a little tiny bit too bright and then here's the ledge over here. So, here's what I do with these usually. What I'll do is I want to take a photo of this. If you were to take the photo out completely, you'd see a location. So again, the purpose of this photo and capturing this moment is not to show off the Instax. Instax's great, I enjoy it but it's merely to get a new outlook, a new perspective on what's in the photo itself. People will always take a glance at the tool, they'll always see it but they'll be drawn to the subject itself. So, I can take plenty of photos of this. This is beautiful, this is gorgeous, I love this and I'll always take photos of this. But, the moment you bring this into the scenario and you change this and you look at it from a unique perspective, it's different. It's fun, it's challenging and then there's a new appreciation for the location. So that's one of my other favorite tools. This is another tool that I am absolutely in love with. This is called a Moment lens. They just came out with these, they're brand new. They had a kick-starter and they did really well. So, this lens comes with a little tiny attachment that you put on the back of your phone. So, it's so thin that you can actually use majority of all other cases will still cleanly go on, no problem whatsoever. So, this lens here is an 18-millimeter wide lens. So, this would be a perfect opportunity for it because I just want to get more of this. I can only get so much from this angle without shooting back over there, which I don't think those people would allow me to get on their balcony. So now what I do is here's the lens, it's just a beautiful maculate, this cool glass and what you do is we're able to just twist it on. Just go to the camera and it just zooms out that much more. So, I'll do a little before and after shot for you. So, here's the shot with the lens on it. There's just that much more to shoot. I don't even need to do anything else. I need to change the focus, what it does naturally is what I like. Then, if I were ready to take it off. I'll snap a few. Here's this, so here's the same type of angles and here's what I'm able to get. So, this is without the lens, without the lens, with the lens, with the lens. So, the two main ones that are the easiest to see, we'll delete these ones real quick. So, here's without the lens. I put them 80-millimeter on and boom, I can all of a sudden see more of this cliff go down way more to the right, way more of the ground right underneath me when none of that could be seen before. Sometimes what's a little bit of a gamble about using these lenses is the distortion that it creates in the outside of the image. There's no rounding at all, which is amazing. You can see maybe a tiny, tiny little bit in the corner, a little bit of gray up there but it's so minimal that the slightest little filter would drown that out instantly and it still looks super clean, super precise, still got a little lens flare right there. So these things, I love this lens. The last tool that I use a lot, I didn't have a chance to use today is the object's case. So, this case helps me take underwater shots. It's really nice so what you do is you merely slide your phone in to this little case right here, you just slide it right in here. It's full touchscreen capable even while you're in the water. There's another case out there that doesn't allow you to touch the screen so you can touch the screen. It comes with also multiple lenses that you can use as a fish-eye, a wide angle and this is the normal zero percent lens. This little buoy thing or this little flotation device so that when I'm out in the water sometimes and it falls in, it'll just float right back up. It allows me to take all the shots that I need. If you don't have a waterproof case, but you're going to the beach or going to a location where you can just get your feet wet. If you bring a glass cup or something see-through then what you do is, you just take the cup and you put it in the water, so the top half is out of the water, the bottom half is submerged and then you just drop it. Like if this is the cup, you just drop your phone right inside and then all of a sudden you can see whatever's underwater. So, it's like a little hack for how to get some unique underwater shots, and again this is all back to perspective, it's all back to the lens in which you are seeing your subjects, in which you're seeing the world. I love these tools because they help me see the world in a way that no one else can. You can't get an underwater shot without this case or being willing to lose your entire phone in a bucket of rice for two weeks. You can't get enough of a zoomed-out shot of this beautiful ocean without one of those special lenses because we're just not capable, and we're not able to go further up into the hills. All we have to work with is this space. At the end of the day, sometimes it's fun to change your perspective with that camera, that Kowa Six, that vintage camera. I don't need that photo, I don't have to have that photo but I now look for unique locations and perspectives and opportunities to bring that out and to capture a sunset in a way that people don't usually. 6. Editing: So, just going to go a little bit through the apps that I use to edit, pretty simple in regards to the apps I use. The only time I put a photo through multiple apps is if a drastic change needs to happen to it, and I'll explain that. I always conclude each edit with VSCO Cam. It's the mobile app for visual supply. They have a really cool kind of vintage feel to their photos. Most often, I'm just using VSCO Cam. I bring the photos in. I'll show you how to do that sometimes, and here are some of the more in-depth editing apps I have. So say, there's a photo that really has- there's a horizon line and I need it to be perfect. I need it to be just 100 percent straight, not crooked at all. I have this app here SKRWT. So we can just grab any photo right now, specifically one that has a horizon. So here's one of the shots from today, and see that angle just needs to be perfect. You see on the bottom down here, one on the bottom left shows straight tilting left to right, and then I can go even further in-depth making sure things are in line. One over, the more you tilt it, the more the right side of the photo jumps out towards you, or this app if you, the one on the bottom right right now, it allows you to pull out the center or push in the centers. It kind of almost gives it a fisheye-type feel. So depending on the photo and your location and whatnot and what you're trying to do, it's really helpful app for straightening a horizon. Another app that I use is called AntiCrop. So, this is a bit of a cheat app if you notice, especially for Instagram-specific type photos. You just need more clouds phrase or more sky, and you just can't get a good crop that you can't get a good square in. You just upload in its highest. This one's always little bit of a gamble. The more thinking this app has to do, the more pixelated the picture become. Let's see, if I pull this up right here, what it does is it tries to imagine what there would have been if it were a zoomed out photo. It's easy with the sky, still a little bit off. You look really closely, you can see it definitely gets distorted. But then if I go down, I'm just about to screw this photo all up. Yeah. Terrible. That's okay but it's it's definitely difficult if there's more in the picture that the computer has to deal with and mask and copy, the harder it's going to be. Retouch, it's a photo editing app to get rid of a tiny little, like if there's a spec or something that shouldn't be there. You can retouch or pull that out. I don't think I specifically have any photos in here that I need to get rid of or we can show an example though. So upload at its highest. Just say this tiny little rock right here is getting in the way, and do something like this and then it will start button and then viola, that rock is gone. That's an easy way to kind of get rid of something and you can save it pretty easy and it's back to normal. Image Blender is more of wanting to put two images. One right on top of another, the other and some other obsolete. Litely isn't a new version and it's similar to Visual Supply but very different filters. They're not as heavy on the grain as Visual Supply are but it's still a great app. So, then I'll show you kind of what I do to Visual Supply which I spend the majority of my time. So, I can upload multiple photos at once. So, I'm going to go and just tap the ones that jumped out at me is the ones I knew I enjoyed, or that are going to be good ones. So, the cool thing about this is one of the- there's a mix of a few different types of shots. This is our up-high shots. This can be our up-high shot and this can be or our self shot as well. So, what I want to do is, to be honest, I kind of like it being both. I don't want to put too much emphasis on one thing over another. I think that if I wanted to, I could crop in a little more and the shoes making it more of up-high shot or I could put a little bit more emphasis on the water. I'm sorry. Cropping on the shoes, making it a self shot or a little more of the water, making it more of an up-high shot. But I like it being smack dab in the middle. So, there's two options with- there's two directions with this app. One is filters and the other is tools. So, I like going into the tools first messing with the contrast. I always bring it up a notch, maybe two. So, you can kind of see what it was and what it became. So, it just makes the darker just a little bit dark and I like that and if I scroll over to the right, I can sharpen things. Every time I'm using- taking pictures of water, I like to sharpen it a little bit more. So, if you can, you can see the drops. If you sharpen it too much, the whole thing becomes like a little, I don't know what the word is for that but it's a no. So, go back just to one. So that's kind of what we got so far. What I like when using the tools is I like to edit the photos in a way to where I'd be satisfied with the photo just by using the tools alone and then kind of adding the filters are a little extra something. If I needed to, I'd be totally fine using this photo, posting this photo, no problem but I like adding a little extra something in the filters. When posting especially with with Visual Supply, I like to keep all the photos from one day within the same color scheme in regards to the edit. All Visual Supplies, they keep their styles of photos blocked up or categorized, so you can see where it says M1 through M6. So, they're very similar or will go down to, what's this, will go all the way to the end here. We got E1, E3, E2, E3, E4, and they're all very similar. So, that way you can- it turns into a collection of photos as opposed to one individual photo that's so drastically different in its location, in its edit, in its color scheme and everything. I like to keep it altogether. So, sometimes I just want to mess around. So, I like E1. I've always loved that app and then I can change the strength of it if I don't like it as strong as it was. So then, there is that, and then I can go down and I can save that and then, voila, there's one of our shots from up high, a self shot. I like that one a lot. 7. Final Thoughts: I just want to thank everyone for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope that you are challenged now to look at things from new perspectives. To step outside of your own comfort zone and to put on a new set of lenses in which you can see the world around you. I like these challenges because you can do them in any place, at any time, of any subject. So, I use these everywhere I go. It's been really helpful for me to push myself as an artist and as a photographer. So, I'm really excited to see what you guys come up with. If you ever have any questions at all or need any advice or want critiques about whatever, please, let me know. I hope you enjoy. 8. Explore Photo Classes on Skillshare: