I’m not a ’tilter’, in fact most of my work is very ‘squared up’, but I’m not the type of person to put opinion in front of facts, truth, or good sound reason. That being said, I learned a lot of my photography thought process from Zack Arias’ critique episodes on his blog. He hates needless tilting. I love his work, his generosity, and his teaching methods… with that in mind, I began to wonder if the distaste I inherited for a tilted photo is mere opinion? If so, I’m ok with that, but I still wanted to know.
While I personally don’t care for the tilt in most instances, I also don’t care to be overly polarized on something that has little effect on me, especially since it’s not something I tend to do. I see some photographers who are, in my mind, pulling off a successful tilt, and others who are just doing, it seems, when inspiration isn’t striking.
I never had a problem with this, for some reason my mind works in very a very linear organized way, and I tend to fit my creativity into that. More often than not, I’ll find a way to tilt my subject, rather than my camera. Now when I say tilt, we’re talking about angling horizon lines. In my mind, even if I tilt my head, I still perceive the horizon as level… and that’s probably the biggest cause for my natural inclination to shy away from it. However, photography is about showing things as you perceive them… and that’s why I’m pushing further and looking for thoughts. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone sees things the same. So why tilt? What makes a tilt successful? To some, a tilt will never be a success, but in reality, there many photographers making plenty of money with dynamic looking tilts.
The one thing I have concluded, that I feel very strongly about, is that tilting your camera at 45 degrees does not equal a composition… any more than a thoughtless straight shot would. Rather, whether your camera is vertical, horizontal, or tilted, you need to be putting the same amount of thought into your composition.
In the spirit of objectivity, I asked a few photographers, who’s work I admire, to give me their thoughts on the issue. These are people who I knew tilt, or had thoughts on it. (more after the jump)