My friend gasped when I headed toward the crocodile pit and said, “Quick, hold my legs.”
But being the perfect travel buddy, she then laughed out loud and anchored me so I could lean in to get this shot:
Now, don’t worry—I wasn’t in any real danger, they were small crocodiles.
As a travel writer and photographer, sometimes to get a fantastic shot to go with your article you need to get in close to find the most advantageous angle.
You may lean through bars. Climb a fence. Stand on a park bench. Sit in a tree. Or in this case, get a friend to hold your legs so you can hang into a crocodile pit.
Just standing back with the crowd doesn’t get the unique images an editor wants. It just gets you ones they’ve seen a thousand times before.
By leaning in I was able to remove the clutter—including concrete and metal feed—and take a much more saleable shot, an image good enough for publication. This image was published in an article within a week.
You might think I’m crazy and you would never try that. But I’m not crazy—well, just crazy about getting great shots that will make me money time and again.
It’s all about the angles. Let me give some examples.
There’s overhead angles. Looking into something creates a powerful image. Get in there, reach into something, take the lid off to get a look inside. Like a beehive.
This image has been published worldwide in multiple magazines and online publications both digitally and in print. I’m talking top magazines in the beekeeping niche.
Or there’s laying down and shooting up—that’s how I got this fantastic fun shot of a baby spider monkey hanging in the trees overhead.
My angle had the added benefit of making her curious, so she stayed there to look at me doing something different. Not only did it make everyone around me chuckle, but it also gave me time to focus and get good lighting from the sunlit canopy.
Here’s another example:
See my green shirt at the bottom of this image? That’s me standing on a chair in a crowded restaurant while a giggling waiter held me for balance. It was the only way to get a detailed photo of a table full of traditional Mexican dishes.
The restaurant loved it. As a thank you I gave them a copy of the best photo for their social media, and they were so happy they halved our bill. My friends were thrilled to get this unexpected perk.
It pays to find the advantageous angles. Don’t be shy, get in there and give it a try.
This is something a lot of photographers or travel writers don’t do. We don’t move enough. We tend to stand still and focus on what is in front of us. Unless you are on a birdwatching expedition, then looking up is a given. But for most photographers, it’s the good old “point and shoot.”
By getting creative and moving, tilting, and looking around at different angles, the images produced are more saleable. And it’s easy to do. Cameras are maneuverable, making it easy to get a different perspective and angle.
Sometimes to get that shot you need to be a little creative…and have a good friend that will hold your legs, so you don’t get bitten by a crocodile!