Dynamic Diagonals

A quick and easy way to inject a bit of oomph into your underwater photographic compositions is to place your subject on the diagonal line bisecting your picture from top to bottom or side to side. This can often lend a sense of drama to a more static looking subject. If you also place the subject looking in towards the camera, you are pretty much guaranteed a more powerful outcome than if you placed things on a more even keel.

It’s going to be a fairly quick blog post this concentrating on the pictures themselves.And it’s also something that you are able to do afterwards in post production, within your favourite editing program. So if you have a picture or two that maybe needs a bit of livening up, or a shot you’re not too sure about and can’t quite put your finger on what it needs to raise the bar a bit, this may be just the ticket.

So here’s our first pick giving you an idea about this devilishly easy concept.
A very simple abstract macro picture of the patterns and structure of a type of clam.
I deliberately composed from top left to bottom right, possibly the strongest way to compose using diagonals, as our eyes normally drift from left to right when assessing a scene.

 

A diagonally composed picture of a colourful clam, placing the diagonal from top left to bottom right.
A diagonally composed picture of a colourful clam, placing the diagonal from top left to bottom right.

 

Here we have another abstract, this time a macro shot of an iridescent sea urchin.

I have gone bottom left to top right, but also shooting angle is looking into the shot leading the eye to the purple heart shaped pattern, with the line of purple dots.

 

Here we have another abstract, this time a macro shot of an iridescent sea urchin. I have gone bottom left to top right, but also shooting angle is looking into the shot leading the eye to the purple heart shaped pattern, with the line of purple dots.
Here we have another abstract, this time a macro shot of an iridescent sea urchin.
I have gone bottom left to top right, but also shooting angle is looking into the shot leading the eye to the purple heart shaped pattern, with the line of purple dots.

 

Here we have a wide angle shot, where I’ve tried to use the foreground gently sloping and the background line framing with diagonals the focal point of my buddy Shelly shooting the coral on the mast of the wreck.

 

Here we have a wide angle shot, where I've tried to use the foreground gently sloping and the background line framing with diagonals the focal point of my buddy Shelly shooting the coral on the mast of the wreck.
Here we have a wide angle shot, where I’ve tried to use the foreground gently sloping and the background line framing with diagonals the focal point of my buddy Shelly shooting the coral on the mast of the wreck.

 

Ok, here is a subject that demands a dramatic angle, I was shooting with a longer than normal focal length, so unable to increase the drama by ramping it up with a “fisheye in it’s face” sort of  a composition, which just wasn’t possible.And fearsome though they may seem, this shark like most was quite shy. So I opted for a short telephoto lens to make them big in the frame. This meant that to turbo charge the dynamics a bit I simply tilted the camera, well actually I didn’t, I lie.
What I did was take a pretty straight shot and after converting it to black and white I cropped it in Lightroom with a bit of a tilt. Simples.
Although to be perfectly honest if you can remember to frame like this in the first place you won’t waste any valuable pixels, and keep the quality high.

 

Ok, here is a subject that demands a dramatic angle, I was shooting with a longer than normal focal length, so unable to let the drama be ramped up with a fisheye in it's face sort of composition, which just wasn't possible, as fearsome though they may seem, this shark like most was quite shy. I opted for a short telephoto lens to get them big in the frame. This meant that to turbo charge the dynamics a bit I simply tilted the camera, well actually I didn't, I lie. What I did was take a pretty straight shot and after converting it to black and white I cropped it in Lightroom with a bit of a tilt. Simples.  Although to be perfectly honest if you can remember to frame like this in the first place you won't waste any valuable pixels, and keep the quality high.
Ok, here is a subject that demands a dramatic angle, I was shooting with a longer than normal focal length, so unable to let the drama be ramped up with a fisheye in it’s face sort of composition, which just wasn’t possible, as fearsome though they may seem, this shark like most was quite shy. I opted for a short telephoto lens to get them big in the frame. This meant that to turbo charge the dynamics a bit I simply tilted the camera, well actually I didn’t, I lie. What I did was take a pretty straight shot and after converting it to black and white I cropped it in Lightroom with a bit of a tilt. Simples.
Although to be perfectly honest if you can remember to frame like this in the first place you won’t waste any valuable pixels, and keep the quality high.

 

Ok just to round things off, and I think if you’ve been following my blogs you will know by now that I like to shoehorn some of my other pictures from outside underwater photography into these blogs. So what actually gave me the inspiration for this diagonals composition blog post was I was recently photographing a classic car rally in Switzerland, and having a little background in sports photography I was well aware that to make the cars look more dynamic as they whizzed about the Alps, if I tilted the camera this would give the desired effect. This has been used extensively in sports photography but also by Hollywood and next time you see a movie car chase I guarantee you will see some angled shots like this, in fact it has a name its called a “Dutch Tilt”
So there you go get out there and go wonky!!

 

Ok just to round things off, and I think if you've been following my blogs you will know by now that I like to shoehorn some of my other pictures from outside underwater photography into these blogs. So what actually gave me the inspiration for this diagonals composition blog post was I was recently photographing a classic car rally in Switzerland, and having a little background in sports photography I was well aware that to make the cars look more dynamic as they whizzed about the Alps, if I tilted the camera this would give the desired effect. This has been used extensively in sports photography but also by Hollywood and next time you see a movie car chase I guarantee you will see some angled shots like this, in fact it has a name its called a "Dutch Tilt" So there you go get out there and go wonky!!
Ok just to round things off, and I think if you’ve been following my blogs you will know by now that I like to shoehorn some of my other pictures from outside underwater photography into these blogs. So what actually gave me the inspiration for this diagonals composition blog post was I was recently photographing a classic car rally in Switzerland, and having a little background in sports photography I was well aware that to make the cars look more dynamic as they whizzed about the Alps, if I tilted the camera this would give the desired effect. This has been used extensively in sports photography but also by Hollywood and next time you see a movie car chase I guarantee you will see some angled shots like this, in fact it has a name its called a “Dutch Tilt”
So there you go get out there and go wonky!!

Duxy