Adding Impact to Your Images With This Simple Tool | Photography Unfolded

Adding Impact to Your Images With This Simple Tool

 In Tips + Tricks

As the title states, this is a very simple tool that can, sometimes, drastically change how your image feels and the impact it has on the viewer: Rotation.

While it’s most often used in abstracts, this first example is pretty clearly a staircase and wide enough to give you a sense of place. The person in the shot also adds to the sense of place and scale. The first version below is how I shot the image, processed and posted for years…

For some reason I reposted on Facebook and Michael messaged saying something like “um, shouldn’t that image be rotated vertically?”. Despite often rotating my images, in this instance, it had never occurred to me. So, I tried it. And, much to my reluctance in admitting he was right…with heavy sighs, he was, lol.

More impact, right? God, I hate being wrong. But, seriously, sometimes others see something in our images that we don’t, that can make it better. It’s also a reminder to keep an open mind and try different things with our images; no matter how simple.

The next example is purely abstract and the type of shot where playing with rotation is far more common. In my opinion, each orientation works, it really depends on your preference for something like this.


Or, placed like this it creates this interesting circular motion I never would have noticed without this post. Huh, always new ways to consider showing your images!

The point is to keep an open mind and play around with your images. Particularly when working with abstracts. The whole basis of abstracts is to take something out of context, to turn your subject into something else entirely and make your viewer question what it is they’re looking at. So often we get caught up in playing by the rules of photography. However, to be creative and make something artistic you may have to break a few of those rules. That’s the fun in it; hearing others interpretations of what you’ve created can be very interesting.

Recommended Posts
Showing 3 comments
  • Avatar
    Roy Thoman

    Way back in the 80’s ( I was just a kid ) I was a member of a camera club. The club had about 50 active members. We had a monthly competition to show off our work. Over time we noticed something about the images that would do well in the competitions. Quite frequently the composition of the winning images would work no matter what orientation you held the image. ( We used printed images back then ). So in certain situations we started looking for compositions that would work in any orientation.

  • Avatar
    Carlo A. Balistrieri

    Hard to do, isn’t it? When you compose you make a conscious decision to go vertical or horizontal–and when you press the shutter, that decision gets locked into your head. I photograph gardens, plants and natural history. That said, abstracts in those categories are my favorite subjects. Some work splendidly when rotated, others not so much. Still, it’s a good lesson and one I will think about–and try to stay aware of when I’m out in the weeds….

    • Angie McMonigal
      Angie McMonigal

      Definitely good to keep in mind, especially once you get to post-production. Feel free to share some images on our social media pages…Facebook and Instagram. Love seeing what’s being created!

Leave a Comment

Get a free eBook about Architectural Abstracts!

Subscribe to download your free copy and to get updates and discounts for our upcoming workshops.
We take your privacy seriously. No spam. See our Privacy Policy here.

Guggenheim Museum - New York, NYcalder flamingo, chicago