Director Stanley Kubrick is considered one of the America’s greatest filmmakers. His films are some of my favourites. I like to watch his movies with a photographer’s eye for ideas and inspiration. Here are some of the things I have learned from Mr. Kubrick.
1- Reverse-tracking- When using a wide angle lens, learn to reverse-track or backpedal in front of your subject. It takes practice but gives you a variety of natural looking images. Make sure to give an occasional glance over your shoulder! It’s easy to trip or walk over someone.
2- Shallow depth of field with a wide angle lens– Just because you’re using a wide angle lens, doesn’t mean you need to have everything in focus. Keep your subject close and keep an open aperture to achieve this.
3- Light sources in compositions– Photographs are all about light, and adding highlights like these can make your compositions more interesting and natural-looking.
4- Available light– Kubrick used candles, street lights and whatever he needed to light his films. Invest in fast lenses to work in low light. Use high ISO settings. Your pictures will be more dramatic.
5- Telephoto lens to isolate subject– Use telephoto lenses with wide apertures to clean up backgrounds and isolate your subject. Telephotos are also flattering for portraits.
6- Attention to detail– Be meticulous with your compositions. Pay attention to what’s going on in the viewfinder. Make sure you have perfect exposures. In the camera, not later.
These images are from Kubrick’s film Paths of Glory. There are many more. Grab some popcorn and watch them with your photographer’s eye!
It’s Oscar time! Here are some of my favourite photography movies.
A delightful documentary about New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham.
Great insight into the creative power of Richard Avedon.
I know. It’s not a photography movie. But who can resist Dennis Hopper as a hyper-manic Vietnam-era photojournalist.
Great photo shoot scenes.
Terrific documentary on the father of modern photography.
Drama inspired by the life of an actual “Swinging London” photographer, David Bailey.
#7 City of God
Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.
A journalist, down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador
Documentary that follows photographer Helmut Newton
#10 Cat Walk
A little known movie where a camera follows model Christy Turlington through the spring fashion shows