Its time to introduce our June Challenge from our MeWe community: the Two Shot Challenge Rather than a theme challenge I want to introduce a new concept: the compositional challenge. I’m in need of a good technical challenge and the lovely folks at The Photographers Blog have allowed me to take over this months MeWe challenge.

It’s coming into focus.

I’ve noticed that as I actively try to improve the pictures I make of toys, my standards are raised for EVERY picture I shoot. I’m no longer satisfied with dimly lit, grainy, blurry, or poorly composed pics where I barely capture the moment. I try and plan ahead whenever I can. This works for both my toy photos and my family portraits. Ever since my wife began creating an annual photo book for our kids lives, I’ve been feeling the pressure to create better images. I’m more concerned about composition, style and type of photo I create. The story I’m trying to convey now occupies my mind.

  • Is the image in focus?
  • Do I want the figure to seem larger than life or small? 
  • How do I convey this with the appropriate camera angles?
  • How much of the background do I want to be in focus?
  • What emotional response to I want from the viewer?

Most of the time I don’t know the answers to these questions so I experiment. This is why I love all the theme challenges: (in the Palpatine voice now) It gives me focus!

The challenge of challenges

These past MeWe challenges are ALL awesome. I always plan out how I’m going to participate, even if I don’t quite make the deadline. You would think a month would be enough time to create just one image!  But I digress….

I enjoy these challenges but I’ve noticed that there appears to be one type of challenge missing. I haven’t been able to find an account that is dedicated to technical challenges. Okay, so maybe more compositionally focused would be a better term.

Another reason I’ve been unable to participate in past challenges is that I’m lazy busy. Yes, I’m very busy and I’m sure you are too. Busy, not lazy that is.  So trying to add another challenge would be, lets face it, challenging. But then it occured to me that it doesn’t have to be! Any challenge can be layered over just about any other challenge that I’m already participating in! Any compositional challenge can be its own standalone project OR it can be worked into any other challenges going on in the toy photography community! Who says a challenge has to be rigid? We set the rules, so lets make this one as flexible as possible!

Two challenges in one? I say yes!

The Two Shot Challenge

Now is the part where I ask you to join me in this months MeWe Community challenge. 

For the month of July let’s play with the cinematic Two Shot. This shot is about capturing a relationship. A relationship between two characters captured in one image.

A two shot is a shot in which the frames a view of the subjects. The subjects do not have to be next to each other. There are many which have one subject in the foreground and the other subject in the background. The shot is used to show the emotional reactions between the subjects.” The StudioBinder

In a two shot the subjects can be facing in almost any direction because its about THEM as a unit. Two Shots can even have only one subject alone with space for another person, giving the feeling of loneliness, or being alone. The point of this type of set up is to move the story forward by showing an emotional connection.

You can achieve a lot of variety in a two shot. They can be full body wide images that show the entire figure or they can be medium shots that show the figure from the waist up. Or they can even be extreme close ups. The subjects can be facing each other or one character can be turned away, You’re the director…get creative! 

“Timeless Love” by Joshua Kittleson

In this example the two figures are holding hands, close together and looking at each other. Look away! It’s about to get mushy!

“Run to You” by Daria-Maret Geller

I love this one. To me it says reunion, maybe she has been on a trip, or separated by some other circumstances. Whatever the reason, I can feel their relationship coming through the screen.

“The Space Between Us” by Tomek Skog.

This reminds me of “The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo. The need for interaction, and how the smallest touch (be it physical or metaphorical) can have a huge impact. 

No caption needed for this one. Image created by James Gibbs

In Conclusion

The two shot is classic cinematic technique, one that every toy photographer should have at least a passing familiarity with. I know we’re all busy, but this should be a fun and creative challenge. All toys, all styles and techniques are welcome. The two shot can be very forgiving. So I want to challenge you to get creative and show us your best two-shot photos in the MeWe Community!

See you there!

Joshua Kittleson (aka TheGreyKlerik)

Do you enjoy these challenges? Maybe you have the next great challenge for our MeWe Community? If so, please reach out through our Contact page and lets talk. 😀