Working on a contact sheet from an older photo I took ion Laos in 2012, in a brick factory near Luang Prabang. This is such a stunning location that I am bringing my students in there every year during our photo tour.
The place is covered with red dust, and the tiny particles of dust are flying in the air. This is a place which has to be visited in the afternoon when the sun is high. The beams of light go through the holes in the roof and hit the dust particles, just a photographic paradise.
Canon EOS 5DII, Canon 100mm f2.8 lens @ f/4, 1/80th and ISO 800.
From what you can see, I did not adjust my composition on these 6 different photos. I took a point of view that allowed me to capture the essence of the place, the red colours, the brick wall, but mostly the beam of light. This beam of light is giving a very interesting direction to the photo, and a nice diagonal line. The only thing I had to do is wait for mu subject to come at the right spot.
I first thought that my subject would be more dynamic in the first 3 photos when the man balances the light beam. The photo has a very strong impact on the left side, due to the fact that the photo is brighter there and has more texture, so I thought I needed my subject on the right side to balance. But after taking the first shots I realized my subject was not “popping out” enough because of the lack of light on that area.
So I waited. Of course, while waiting, I was making sure my settings were right, so I would not miss the shot. That means making sure my shutter speed was not too slow (quite a dark place) and changing my focusing point and focusing mode so I could follow the moving subject (going to AI Servo on Canon or AF-C on Nikon).
From that point it was easy, just waiting for my subject to come towards me. I took several shots as you can see and pick up the one that IO felt was more dynamic. Once the man got closer to me, he became brighter and looked straight at me, creating a connection. His pants caught the reflecting light from the wall. Also, because he was getting closer, my depth of field was also getting more interesting, and I could give a little blur in my background, thus enhancing the subject even more.
I did take a few shots after the last one here, but then the body of the man was hiding the bricks and the left side, and the photo lost a lot of interest.
You can also note the little difference in the composition between shot 1 and the others: the rack of palettes on the bottom right corner gives a better depth to the photo after I recomposed, as it becomes more a diagonal. On the first photo, this line is very straight, giving less impact. You can see on the lest selected photo that this rack has much more angle.
Hope you enjoy. I am very happy to get your feedback in the comment section below!