On Shooting Off-angle

By | 2012-08-16T09:23:13+00:00 Aug 16th, 2012|

If there is one tendency that I try to break, it’s to shoot subjects head-on. I don’t know what it is – maybe it’s my affinity for architecture – but I always default to setting my camera so that it’s facing directly straight to whatever I’m about to shoot. And, in some cases, that is the appropriate framing choice.

But, I find that, more often than not, shooting subjects at an angle can offer a very dramatic and visually pleasing alternative for the viewer. In the case with this image, my attention was originally grabbed by this bus in the foreground, with its windshield missing. It goes without saying that it has a lot of character. But then, I was attracted to the bus next to it, with its arching overhang. And then the yellow bus beyond it. You get my drift.

So, by setting my tripod on an angle, I was able to retain all of the elements of the first bus while also including other attractive elements. And, I’d wager that the image is more compelling as a whole because of this angle. So, when you’re out shooting, take an extra minute or two and navigate around whatever it is you’re shooting. It’ll likely pay off.

Google Maps Location Info
39.1560, -122.1476

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped #HDR  image, processed in Photomatix Pro. Because of the drastic tonal range in the scene, tone-mapping was critical.

As far as stylization, I wanted to change the tone of the warm sunlight and was able to achieve that with Urban Sickness. Next, I added some Havana to the yellow bus in the background, as well as Green Enhancer to the weeds in the foreground. Tonal Contrast was masked in on all of the buses. All done in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1.

In album UrbEx and RuralEx (1 photo)

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  1. youssef hadouchi August 16, 2012 at 9:11 am - Reply

    nice shoot brian

  2. jamstek yang August 16, 2012 at 9:13 am - Reply

    car man

  3. Pascal Glassey August 16, 2012 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Belle prise, j'aime beaucoup.

  4. Robert Greenwalt August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Head-on is like centered: clean, pure and often uninteresting.

  5. Alexis Enrique Delgado Ramos August 16, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    nice photo

  6. Eric Drumm August 16, 2012 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Great photo.  Saw an exhibit of Berenice Abbott's works from the 30's over the weekend at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and I was struck by how she lined up many of her NYC photos on the angle.  Agree that this works quite well in many instances.

  7. Archana Potdar August 16, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Great picture.

  8. Richard Swayze August 16, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Wow, you definitely captured the character of the buses. It's amazing how different each one is.

  9. Sultan Al-Ghamdi August 16, 2012 at 9:33 am - Reply

    wooooooooow }} amazing view

  10. Sudip Das August 16, 2012 at 9:35 am - Reply

    cool pic… :)

  11. Brian Matiash August 16, 2012 at 9:36 am - Reply

    +Richard Swayze You hit the nail on the head.

    Thank you, everyone!

  12. Jason Longbrake August 16, 2012 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Very cool shot. Love it.

  13. Shima sh August 16, 2012 at 9:39 am - Reply


  14. Davide Petilli August 16, 2012 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Lovely image, +Brian Matiash!

  15. Michael Hoffman August 16, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash I agree that this image is much stronger with the perspective view and leading lines of the buses receding into the distance. Much more compelling that a single flat bus image would be!

    Excellent processing, as usual :)


  16. Mandy Sloan August 16, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I have the opposite problem, I forget that I can shoot straight on and that some times that is more appealing to the eye…something I'll have to try to remember. BYW…sick shot dude ;)

  17. hocine yanallah August 16, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

    incrdible shot man you'r talented :)

  18. J. Forrest Hale August 16, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    I like this side approach — it brings drama to the image, and draws my eyes in.  Each bus was riveting in turn, and each different.

  19. Gray Kinney August 16, 2012 at 11:00 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash … Question
    Would you say Perfect effects 3 is your favorite for landscape and scenes like this? I want to get a new package that I can use for a trip where I will be taking lots of pictures in the NM/AZ states. I like this outcome. 

  20. Boris Manic August 16, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply


  21. Jeff Arrington August 16, 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I like the processing when it has a kick but not too much. Thanks +Brian Matiash for all your helpful posts.

  22. Claudiu Clau August 16, 2012 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Great Pic

  23. Kerry Murphy August 16, 2012 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Totally love the processing on this.

  24. Christina Holt August 16, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Cool picture.

  25. Brian Matiash August 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    +Gray Kinney Most certainly. I absolutely love Perfect Effects. And I'll always make this disclaimer – I work for onOne. The fact that we make a product that I religiously use with all of my shots is just gravy. I've used the onOne products for years before I was ever hired so I don't consider it that I'm forced to use the products. :)

  26. bethany falmer August 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Smiles, a wonderful image Brian.
    Love the angle you've shot this from, now we get to see all the interesting buses, and not just the first.
    Thank you for sharing them

  27. Gray Kinney August 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks +Brian Matiash ! I appreciate the feedback… ;-)

  28. J. Forrest Hale August 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    +Gray Kinney You should check out the live webinars through OnOne Software to get an idea for the product and what it can do.  I don't use it as much as I used to, but it is very useful.  And Brian's prior enthusiasm for the filters does show through in the webinars very well.

  29. Brian Matiash August 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    +Gray Kinney  – What +J. Forrest Hale said. :)

  30. Gray Kinney August 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you +J. Forrest Hale I will do that! Im looking for a certain feel and want to be sure these will do what I want. 

  31. Brian Matiash August 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    +Gray Kinney Feel free to grab the 30-day trial of Perfect Effects 3 or the whole Suite. It's fully functional without any watermarks or any rubbish like that. Play away!

  32. J. Forrest Hale August 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Yes, THAT is one of my favorite things about OnOne, that there is a fully-functional trial of the filters.  And no, I don't work for them! *smile* 
         It always amazes me that companies will offer a trial then restrict it so much that you can't truly get a taste of the product.  I've seen a few products that I think I'd have liked, but ended up not buying, because of that.

  33. Gray Kinney August 17, 2012 at 6:50 am - Reply

    Ill grab it +Brian Matiash thanks!

  34. Mary Broussard August 17, 2012 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Outstanding! I like OnOne a lot even tho I'm simply a beginner with it :)

  35. Steve Dimock March 5, 2013 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Love the image. I think the tendency to shot head on, centered, is in everyone. As you say, at times it is the best angle. Most often a different perspective adds to the image.

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