I know a lot of photographers don’t like shots taken from behind, and especially of peoples backs. However if you enjoy doing it don’t worry about them, just do it.
When I thought of writing this post, I thought I would have just enough shots taken from behind to put in. When I looked through at how many I had I surprised myself and had to cull them.
There are many reasons to shoot from behind. If you have ever seen the film “Patch Adams”, and recall the final scene where he gets his degree. What was the most memorable and funniest part of the film? Not the head on shot, or side view shot of him receiving his degree, but the shot when he turned around, and shot from behind. His robe was open and he wasn’t wearing any underwear. I’m not saying this because of the nudity aspect, but the interesting point of view was from the rear.
Shooting from behind can put an emphasis on things. In the following shot, which was my first shot from behind when I started Street, I saw these two girls walking along the street and what attracted me was the leggings one girl was wearing, and the tights with a hole in them that the other girl had.
If I had taken that from the front there would have been distractions of what I saw, i.e their faces, or maybe logos on their TShirts. For the same reasons the following shot was taken the same. The difference being between the two photos is that the girls in the above, had walked past me, but in the following shot I was behind the girl and never saw her face at all, it was her hair that drew my attention.
As with the above, these are the dead ahead shots, showing no frontal features.Below the first shot is exactly that, with only the subject in the shot. This gives a similar effect to that of a silhouette, but showing detail of the person.
The following are also dead ahead shots. All focusing on the person as the subject. In the first it is the total opposite, and bright colours of the girls hair that becomes the focus. The shot below it is the same, this time though not colour but the style of the hair.
In the following two shots, they are also “Dead Ahead”, but the emphasis is less on the subject solely, but taking in their surroundings as well.
Behind With Some Features Showing
The following photos are shot from behind, but the subject or one of the subjects is standing at a slight angle. This allows the camera to capture activity as well as the subject.
The following shots show that although shooting from behind, being at a slight angle can produce some interesting shots.
I was standing sheltering from the torrential rain when I noticed this photographer walk along the street, not seeing me and take a shot. I also got a shot of him turning around and looking at me, but I already had my shot.
“I sat chatting to this lady, who was from South Africa, for over half an hour. We were exchanging knowledge of our countries and culture. It was a really enjoyable and educational conversation. She then went into the Pier Head Building, and the last I saw of her was disappearing through the doorway.
Our paths had crossed, and then gone, never to be seen again, like so many interesting people you meet along the way in life.
That is the beauty of photography. That you look at the photo and memories are triggered.
So you can see how the fact that it was taken from behind was important.
Missing a shot of someone because they pass, for whatever reason, is no excuse not to get a shot as the photos above show. Even purposely looking, or just seeing those people directly in front of you can give some very pleasing results. Just remember Keep Shooting.
There is also another shot from behind that gives great images. That is when you are making a shot from behind and one or all of the subjects turns around.
All the shots were taken with my Nikon D7000.