One of the main reasons I became interested in photography in the first place, was because I was stunned and always curious as to how they managed to get certain looks, certain perspectives, certain angles, depth, colors, etc….you name it. So learning about lenses, DOF, color theory, composition has become something as fun/intricate and educational in the process of film, as animation itself.

My experience studying film so far has been that while the story is heavily carried by the writting/acting, certain films and directors such as Orson Welles, Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, Coen Brothers, Terrence Malick, Jean Pierre Jeunet to name a few, have taken full advantage of using the camera, photography and colors to make story points, and/or to bring the visual style of the film to a level that will tell the story stronger…that’s why it’s always good for me to read what DPs I’ve enjoyed such as Conrad Hall, Roger Deakins or Darius Khondji have to say about their process in cinematography.

This is why I wanted to recommend photography/painting as ways to inspire yourself when it comes to creating your own films/compositions. It’s been certainly inspiring to learn about it, and then taking a camera and going shooting whatever the hell. Almost to train your eye just as much as how we train it whenever we animate. Here are a few examples from a few films from these Directors’ Films I mentioned, which I personally feel have stunning photography throughout which in some cases, not only obviously add to the production value of the film, but gives the film a very unique and distinctive look that stands out.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Days of Heaven (1978)

Fargo (1996)

Blade Runner (1982)

Amelie (2001)

The Orphanage (2007)

These look like stunning individual photographs or paintings. They draw you in for different reasons. Ultimately you want people to feel something (happy, scared, nostalgic, excited, confused, who knows), also make a story point through the camera, put the audience in a state of mind, or bring a mood to a particular scene or character. It’s nice to know when working in films, that we have many more elements other than just the character to speak to an audience. And photography and color are some of those tools. Highly recommend studying films you like now thinking what’s the photography or colors used in it telling me, and why. Is it making me feel in a certain way? Do the images/color/composition stick with me? If any images do something to you, always ask yourself why, as that’s a great part of the learning.