Working a subject: Farm house

Follow along as I show how to approach different views of the same subject.  That subject happens to be a fancy farm house preserved in a park setting.  Each shot is taken from a different Point Of View (POV).  I explain the purpose for each POV.  Some times the difference is a right way / wrong way thing.  Sometimes to show how little changes in the POV can change the feel of the shot.  All of these were shot with a Canon 50D and 18-55mm kit lens.  So the crop factor is 1.6X, the 18-55 range works out to 29-88mm in full frame terms.  In each case I cite the actual Focal Length (FL), not the full frame figure.  Click on any photo for a larger view.

Parking lot POV, with signs. Auto shooting mode.

Parking lot POV, with signs. Auto shooting mode.

POV moved beyond signs. 55mm FL to better show the buildings. Auto mode.

(IMG_0764)  POV moved beyond signs. 55mm FL to better show the buildings. Auto mode.

Same POV as 0764, but with vertical frame. 18mm FL to better show the height of the palms. Auto mode.

Simlar POV to 0764, but with vertical frame. 18mm FL to better show the height of the palms. Auto mode.

POV now closer to the house, showing flower beds in front. Auto mode.

POV now closer to the house, showing flower beds in front. Auto mode.

Same POV, but this time with the mode changed to Landscape. Look for subtle changes in various tones. The Landscape mode will be used for the remaining shots.

Same POV, but this time with the mode changed to Landscape. Look for subtle changes in various tones. The Landscape mode will be used for the remaining shots.

POV moved to one side for a different middle ground (lawn). Focal length (FL) is 18mm.

(IMG_0768)  POV moved to one side for a different middle ground (lawn). FL is 18mm.

Same POV as 0768, but with the FL zoomed in to 25mm. This give a better look at the house and the little arbor on the right. That arbor is a backdrop for weddings.

Same POV as 0768, but with the FL zoomed in to 25mm. This give a better look at the house and the little arbor on the right. That arbor is a backdrop for weddings.


For the final series the POV will be fairly close to house. With the idea of focusing more on the house than the grounds and park setting.

FL now at 30mm. This cuts off the "outrider" palm on the far right, simplfying the composition.

FL now at 30mm. This cuts off the “outrider” palm on the far right, simplifying the composition.

Still the same POV. This time with a vertical frame and FL at 25mm. All to show the flowers in front and more sky.

Still the same POV. This time with a vertical frame and FL at 25mm. All to show the flowers in front and more sky.

Closer POV, to give a better look at the little bridge in the lower left corner.

Closer POV, to give a better look at the little bridge in the lower left corner.

Same POV, vertical frame for more sky.

Same POV, vertical frame for more sky.


Next is an example of what photo editing can do. The shot is taken with the subject framed wider than needed. That is so it can be cropped with a photo editor.  But before that crop, the perspective distortion given by the wide angle of the zoom lens (18mm) is corrected.   The perspective correction is less than 100% so that the picture will appear more natural.

POV moved in closer to clean up the foreground a little. More precise framing can be done later via cropping. FL is 18mm. This wide angle setting results in things appearing to lean into the shot.

(IMG_0774)  POV moved in closer for details on the house.  More precise framing can be done later via cropping. FL is 18mm, which results in things appearing to lean into the shot at the top.

The same image as 0774, but after corrections for distortion and cropping with Adobe's Elements photo editor. The perspective correction is less than 100% so that the picture will appear more natural. The crop eleminated that bald patch in the grass at the bottom of the shot.

The same image as 0774, but after corrections for distortion and cropping with Adobe’s Elements photo editor.  The crop eliminated that bald patch in the grass at the bottom of the shot.

Same POV, horizontal frame to really show the house and veranda better. FL now 25mm.

Same POV, horizontal frame to really show the house and veranda better. FL now 25mm.

POV moved way in for details on one side of the house. FL is 18mm. The chimmy was the main guide for leveling the shot.

POV moved way in for details on one side of the house. FL is 18mm. The chimney was the main guide for leveling the shot.


Now the intent for all of this was not to arrive at some mythical ideal composition for the farmhouse.  The variety to the photos is deliberate.  Not that I would show all of these in an album.  But I do have the opportunity to pick and choose those shots that best portray the farmhouse and its setting.  Different folks would choose different shots.  That is perfectly Ok.  Composition is art, and art is always subjective.  Just enjoy.

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