I am not and will never be, a real documentary photographer. There are way to many rules that I just can’t follow. Be that as it may, there are so many valuable concepts in this specific genre that I can definitely use to improve my own work.

This week (and possibly for several… I don’t know yet) I wanted to work on some of those concepts.

This week is all about LAYERING.

Layering is a compositional element that adds depth to an otherwise flat image. By having a foreground, middle ground and background, it helps draw a viewer in. When telling a story through imagery, it’s important to fill those layers - while they might not add specifically to the story - they help to visualize the scene.

Once you determine where your main subject lies, concentrate on the other layers by adding additional elements, without disrupting your subject.

Mirrors and reflections seemed like the easiest way to do this:


Shooting through things is also a good way to add interest to the foreground:

A Ziplock bag:

Pieces of furniture:

Or another kid:

This is a compositional element that really adds life to a photo. It’s also one of those concepts that forces you to slow down and analyze a scene before shooting your image (since I usually spray and pray - this is hard for me!). Once I get more comfortable with layering as a whole, I want to peel off the Bokah Bandaid and shoot at higher apertures to allow more of those elements in.