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10-03-2007, 10:18 PM   #1
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Misaligned/Leaning Images of People (Photo Fundamentals)

Images with scenes containing people tilted left or right (camera misaligned with subject, background, and surroundings) has clearly become a popular trend over the last few years (especially on the internet). One can easily find such images (portraits, weddings, etc) right here in the "post your photos" section of this website.

To me, tilting the head left and right to view such images is distracting and, if done often enough, uncomfortable. Further, it looks very amateurish, like the photographer wasn't able to align the camera properly to the surroundings.

However, trying to keep an open mind, I decided to ask those engaged in this practice if there is some benefit (beyond not having to make an effort to align images in the viewfinder), reason (family & friends want images of themselves tilted), or demand (customers prefer misaligned images). In other words, what is the purpose of this?

Of course, comments and/or opinions posted by others are always welcomed as well.

stewart


Edit: Okay, since some confusion exists, here is an example. I didn't link to a specific example earlier to avoid singling out any one individual. As I said above, this is popular at the moment, used by many in many images. This is just one example, in otherwise very fine images.

Note the first image with the couple and horizon tilted sharply at an angle. Note the similar misalignment in other images. This is the effect I'm talking about.



Last edited by stewart_photo; 10-04-2007 at 07:17 AM. Reason: clarification
10-03-2007, 10:54 PM   #2
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Am not sure exactly what you are refering to. Head tilting is one of the fundamentals that is covered in most portraiture introductions, so I am guessing you mean something else?
10-03-2007, 11:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Images with scenes containing people tilted left or right (camera misaligned with subject, background, and surroundings) has clearly become a popular trend over the last few years (especially on the internet).
It has indeed.

I believe they call it "fashion".

Hopefully they're wrong, and it's just a fad - I don't like it at all, especially for portraiture. It's been done a lot for action shots over the years to (allegedly) convey more of a sense of action, and I don't much like that either.

I'm probably just an un-hip, behind the times, old fart, but I find it generally very gimmicky and usually without actual compositional merit.
10-03-2007, 11:46 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
Am not sure exactly what you are refering to. Head tilting is one of the fundamentals that is covered in most portraiture introductions, so I am guessing you mean something else?
Believe he's talking about turning the camera at an off angle to take the picture. So not the standard vertical or horizontal shot, but somewhere in between.

I find that the technique has applications (usually marketing related). I rarely use it, but I have in the past, although never with people.



10-03-2007, 11:55 PM   #5
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Oh ok, camera tilting then. Used to great effect in the image you posted nice
10-04-2007, 12:06 AM   #6
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I think it comes in waves. Having the horizon just a little off, was used in the movies by Alfred Hitchcock, and others, to express being out of control. I also think that many people showing images on the web just do not think it matters. You also have to remember that the majority of images on the web are taken with P&S cameras; it is hard to hold them level/perpendicular when at arms length. If you question them - you are being elitist.

PDL - the elitist
10-04-2007, 12:17 AM   #7
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I rarely shoot portrait, but have used the technique when shooting motorsport, but after everyone jumped on the band-wagon I went back to taking horizontal photos. I still do it from time to time for dramatic effect.

Poor example, but you catch my drift.
10-04-2007, 07:27 AM   #8
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Okay, I've added a link above to some examples to show what I'm talking about. Both "AVANT" and "blwnhr" have it correct, but it seems this effect is more common and more odd looking in images of people. Again, I want to point out that this is not a criticism of this one individual's images. Instead, it's a comment about the effect (tilted images) itself. This individual is just one of many employing this effect in their images.

stewart

10-04-2007, 07:43 AM   #9
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It's just another 'style' of photography that caught on with the younger generation, especially when taking photos of their cars to try and give a more dynamic photo. It's used more in car photography to give it that extra punch but others use it with other subjects. It's a hit and miss whether it works or not and it's been overdone a lot so a lot of people don't like it. However, when used correctly, it helps create some dynamics to the photo.
10-04-2007, 07:53 AM   #10
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Stewart, I tend to agree and the overuse is the main bug for me. The couple of examples in this thread (car, tracks) work just fine for the subject. Certin portraits look good this way as well. But like anything it should be done when the scene or object to be conveyed works well with the technique. It's a lot like the film/video shooting style (The Matrix) of choppy, jerky shots that were popular in many films and movies for awhile. A little is interesting and a lot is annoying and distracting.
10-04-2007, 08:01 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Toshi Quote
It's just another 'style' of photography that caught on with the younger generation, especially when taking photos of their cars to try and give a more dynamic photo. It's used more in car photography to give it that extra punch
It's not clear to me, though, what extra "punch" it has, just because it's at an angle. When I watch a dramatic action scene at a car race, I don't tilt my head to one side. When I see this effect in a photo, it simply doesn't have a "more dramatic" effect in my brain - just "oh it's at an unrealistic angle".

I end up wondering if it's just an attempt, intentional or not, to mask the fact that actually the photo doesn't have capture the drama as intended in the first place.

The "let's have a funky angle" technique seems to have caught on big time with a lot of wedding photographers, which I find truly horrible.
10-04-2007, 08:26 AM   #12
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I'm glad you bring up this point stewart, as obviously, haha I do use tilt when doing portraits.

I didn't post this up in the gallery that I linked in that post, but when doing posed shots (like in my shoot or at the wedding i shot a couple weeks ago) I almost always tend to do one vertical, one horizontal, and one tilted shot.

Why? In the past, I've gotten comments (from non-professionals, avg. every day people) as why my shots are so 'dry' and 'normal', as in your standard vertical poses. One tends to go by the book and stick to the basics when composing a shot (esp when starting out), but with digital these days, it doesn't hurt to take that extra tilted shot, maybe a different angle makes it more interesting to some.

I do agree that when reviewing or pp-ing a tilted photo can get annoying at times but for the most part, it doesn't really do any damage (in this digital era) and give the consumer, more choices to choose from in the end.

Last edited by qdoan; 10-04-2007 at 08:34 AM.
10-04-2007, 08:31 AM   #13
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Oh, and sometimes you just tilt the camera to get the subject vertical in the frame, here's an example:



Here, he was 'dipping' her and so and to get them in the frame vertically, you tilt, and so the background is all out of sync. Everyone has their own style, but I totally understand the OP's point
10-04-2007, 09:21 AM   #14
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Art.

Note: art doesn't necessary mean good.

QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Images with scenes containing people tilted left or right (camera misaligned with subject, background, and surroundings) has clearly become a popular trend over the last few years (especially on the internet). One can easily find such images (portraits, weddings, etc) right here in the "post your photos" section of this website.

To me, tilting the head left and right to view such images is distracting and, if done often enough, uncomfortable. Further, it looks very amateurish, like the photographer wasn't able to align the camera properly to the surroundings.

However, trying to keep an open mind, I decided to ask those engaged in this practice if there is some benefit (beyond not having to make an effort to align images in the viewfinder), reason (family & friends want images of themselves tilted), or demand (customers prefer misaligned images). In other words, what is the purpose of this?

Of course, comments and/or opinions posted by others are always welcomed as well.

stewart


Edit: Okay, since some confusion exists, here is an example. I didn't link to a specific example earlier to avoid singling out any one individual. As I said above, this is popular at the moment, used by many in many images. This is just one example, in otherwise very fine images.

Note the first image with the couple and horizon tilted sharply at an angle. Note the similar misalignment in other images. This is the effect I'm talking about.
10-04-2007, 10:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisA Quote
It's not clear to me, though, what extra "punch" it has, just because it's at an angle. When I watch a dramatic action scene at a car race, I don't tilt my head to one side. When I see this effect in a photo, it simply doesn't have a "more dramatic" effect in my brain - just "oh it's at an unrealistic angle".

I end up wondering if it's just an attempt, intentional or not, to mask the fact that actually the photo doesn't have capture the drama as intended in the first place.

The "let's have a funky angle" technique seems to have caught on big time with a lot of wedding photographers, which I find truly horrible.
I feel it's just a matter of "different strokes for different folks" - some feel it adds to the image while others may think it ruins it. With a scene, you have several frames to convey action. With a single image, some may feel that with a tilted perspective, it gives it extra 'movement'. Of course it's all a matter of opinion.
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