By Maria Slough, of Maria Slough Photography.

This week, we are introducing Maria Slough, a portrait and media reportage photographer whose photos are used to gain press coverage across magazines and newspapers. Maria will be guest blogging on the topic of finding relationships in photography, thus helping us PhotoBoxers become better photographers. Over to Maria for more info on the topic…

Maria: There are many different relationships in photography. By “relationship”, I mean the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected. It begins with the unique relationship that we have with our camera or smartphone. Next consider the relationship that you form, sometimes instantly, with the subject that has inspired you to immortalise its image. Finally, it involves the relationship that your photograph inspires in its viewer.

Being able to depict a relationship in your photos helps to improve the sentimental value of pieces of work. When taking a shot of a family for a collage canvas, showing the relationship between each individual only helps to add depth to the piece. This applies to any shots you are attempting to get, whether it’s a cute picture for a thank you card, or shots of the family pet to feature on your annual calendar!

Whatever genre of photography you enjoy, seek out these relationships within the potential picture and you will be rewarded with amazing results!

1. People

Capturing relationships between people is a real privilege. Be ready to photograph the stolen moments which come in-between the posed shots. This is when people are momentarily relaxed and the emotions of what is normally only shared privately, is briefly revealed to us, such as in the photograph below of Times Best Selling Author, Pen Farthing and his family. The photograph of actor Martin Clunes and his horse Chester taken during a shoot for Your Horse Magazine, shows there is a playful side to their relationship.

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There are other more subtle relationships to look out for. The first picture below shows the relationship that the Violinist shares with her instrument, and the second is about the relationship between her image and its reflections.

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2. Places

When photographing locations look for the relationship between the foreground and its backdrop. Unusual perspectives always stand out so be bold and move around to get the shot. You will find relationships everywhere – between what lies above and below the horizon; between reflections and shadows; and between your subject and the main light source such as in the first picture below:

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In contrast the relationship between two clouds in this second picture below appears to be hostile. This cloud formation was made even more dramatic by the relationship between the dark shadows at the top and bottom of the photograph.

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3. Animals

Photographing animals is often a challenge but extremely rewarding. Simplify the process by deciding what relationship you want to capture. Is it the relationship between two animals; between a pet and its toy; or are you looking to make a single shot more interesting? To make your photograph stand out, look for a natural relationship of colour and contrast within the shot such as in the pictures below.

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The dog’s brown eyes and brown markings form a natural relationship of colour. Similarly, the grey of the gravel and the green of the grass emphasise the cat’s colouring.

4. The Lens

Finally, encourage anyone you are photographing to form a relationship with your lens. Reverse the roles and hand them your camera. Letting your subject take a photograph of you will close the divide between you, resulting in high impact shots with the subject comfortable at looking straight down the lens:

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Alternatively, give your subject some props to form a relationship with, as seen in the pictures below, which will help them relax and bring out their personality:

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What type of relationships in photography do you see when you are composing your pictures? Are they people, places, colour, perspectives or something else?

When pursuing relationships within your photography, do it with passion. We would love to see what you capture so please do share them with us.

All images by: Maria Slough, all rights reserved ©