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|| News Item: Posted 2011-08-07

To Tilt Or Not To Tilt …That Is The Question
By Bruce Ely, The Portland Oregonian

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Love it. Hate it. Some ridicule. Others admire. Every photographer and picture editor has an opinion on tilting photographs. The Sports Shooter Newsletter asked several photographers for their personal thoughts on this topic.)

Photo by

Bruce Ely works to keep his horizon straight in Haiti.
"Rules? There are no rules!"

My other favorite thing to say when someone tries to put apply rules to photography and tell me that it should be done a certain way: "What book did you read that in?"

Let me first say that I rarely tilt the camera - at least intentionally.

So maybe you don't like tilted pictures. That's okay. Maybe you don't like pictures with motion blur. That's okay. Don't like pictures with really shallow depth of field? What about the subject looking at the camera? As journalists, we have a pretty small bag of tricks.

My point here is that if we ruled out every photographic technique that someone out there doesn't like, photojournalism would be a pretty boring world. The beauty of our craft is the variety of style.

There are a lot of great pictures in the world that I would never have taken because it doesn't fit the way I take pictures. I'm thankful for that.

So, here is my opinion. I like pictures that have a great moment, are composed well and have nice light. A picture that has no moment and no quality of light is probably still a bad picture - even with a tilt. A tilted picture with a great moment and nice light can still be a great picture - I just probably didn't take it.

Bruce Ely’s Sports shooter member page:

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