EOS tutorial

Explore the world from different perspectives

This month is all about seeing life from fresh points of view. Come and share in our story of two Russian adventurers, Vadim and Vitaliy, who spend their lives exploring the world's most fascinating cities from breath-taking angles.

When it comes to your own photos, offering a different perspective isn't about climbing buildings to capture something from a different angle. It's about telling a story through fresh eyes and evoking new emotions. This can be achieved by creating a mood, expressing ideas or telling a story through your photos.

Ideally, your image should make an impact on a viewer who is seeing it for the first time.

You can express ideas through composition. For example, you could show the contrasts in a busy city shot by focusing on somebody quietly meditating on a subway platform. Or you could get low down to shoot the feet of a crowd of commuters to express a different perspective on your daily journey to work. Check out our tutorials to learn more.

Creating a unique perspective can also be achieved by experimenting with colour. Read on to discover how colour can shape the way we see things and add new shades of magic to your photography.

Creating unique perspectives using colour and composition

The colour of images is heavily influenced by the colour of the available lighting. Some photographers use automatic white balance so the camera or the RAW processing software controls the colour of the pictures. However, you can also adjust your camera settings to affect the colour in your captured image.

Creating unique perspectives using colour and composition - Canon
© Christopher Melnychuk - Canon PowerShot S90
creative commons licence - attribution, no derative works

Getting started with colour

An easy place to start when experimenting with colour and lighting is with the Picture Style setting on your EOS camera. Canon Picture Styles are preset parameters that determine how your EOS will process and render its images. Of course, you can adapt and experiment with Canon Picture Styles once you've selected them.

Getting started with colour - Canon
© Erwin Soo - Canon EOS 650D - Singapore Skyline 2
creative commons licence - attribution

Applying Picture Styles

You can apply Picture Styles to your camera by doing the following:
1.    Select the second Shooting Menu tab (or press the Picture Style button on EOS digital SLRs with this feature).
2.    Scroll down to [Picture Style] and press Set.
3.    Select a Picture Style and then press Set.

There are a number of different Picture Styles available and these will alter the colours of your image in different ways:

  • Standard: Provides crisp, vivid images with increased saturation, contrast and sharpening. This is the default on EOS DSLRs.
  • Portrait: Optimises skin colour tones and saturation. Reduces edge sharpening for smoother skin texture.
  • Landscape: Produces punchier greens and blues with stronger sharpening for crisper-edged mountain, tree and building outlines.
  • Neutral: Has lower contrast and saturation than Standard. It is therefore ideal for images you intend to post-process by selectively adjusting the colour, saturation, contrast and sharpening of individual images.
  • Faithful: Similar to Neutral but produces images that are almost identical to the actual colours when shot under standard daylight conditions.

Applying Picture Styles - Canon
© Daniel Lee - Canon EOS Kiss X4 - Applecross Jetty
creative commons licence - attribution, no derivative works

Introducing White Balance

White balance helps determine the colour cast of a photo. It can be useful for varying the mood of your photo or adjusting the look of the exposure.

Whilst the automatic preset usually does a great job in ensuring that the correct colouring of your subject is captured, all EOS cameras have the ability to set the white balance to a number of different pre-sets for certain environments like TUNGSTEN, CLOUDY and DAYLIGHT.

Playing with white balance

You can achieve interesting colouring by intentionally selecting an inappropriate white balance pre-set, which will cause your picture to be given a less obvious colour cast.

At the simplest level, try shooting with the TUNGSTEN white balance pre-set. This will give a blue tone to the whole picture if it is taken in daylight conditions. Conversely, shooting with the DAYLIGHT white balance setting in environments lit by tungsten lamps will add an orange cast.

Playing with white balance - Canon
© photophilde - EOS 5D Mark II - Good morning
creative commons licence - attribution, share alike

Or why not try pushing this effect a little further? If your scene has areas lit by daylight and some lit by tungsten light, then a colour shift in part of your image can occur. For example; if a person is positioned inside a room lit with tungsten lights and there is a window in the background with daylight behind it, then setting the white balance to tungsten will result in the outdoor parts of the frame looking blue (and cold), but the person will look of normal colour.

Experimenting with white balance can create some atmospheric results so try shooting the same scene using different settings and see which you like best.

Adding colour filters to your flash

Playing with colour can be taken up a gear by adding a strongly coloured light into a scene and custom white balancing the coloured light.

For example, try using a red coloured light filter gel over your flash. You'll find the part of the frame lit by the flash will have a red colour cast. If you then use the custom white balance feature (found on all EOS cameras) to capture an image of a neutral grey scene with the red light the camera will generate interesting complimentary tones in the parts of the frame not lit by the red coloured flash. The result will create an engaging image which offers a different perspective to an ordinary scene.

Adding colour filters to your flash - Canon 
© Judit Klein - EOS 400D - Coke
creative commons licence - attribution, no derivative works

If you don't manage to experiment with colour and light when capturing your image, you can always do so afterwards. Check out Canon Digital Photo Professional or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom if you want to process your photos further.

Capturing unique perspectives isn't necessarily about scaling buildings or playing with colour. There are many different ways to achieve a different perspective, be it of a location, a person or by using colour. The most important thing is to be bold, to experiment and to start capturing images in a distinctive way. Once you've captured some inspired unique perspectives, why not share your favourites shots to our Gallery?