4D Photography

Expand your perspective in photography by adding another dimension to your images.

As photographers, we are used to transform a 3D image into a 2D photograph. We represent the three values (width, height and depth) from a three-dimensional object or space on our two-dimensional plane frame.

In the same way when we are starting from a 4D experience, our goal is to interpret something not physical that happens at some point in time and space and incorporate it to our creative flow to convert it into an art piece, in this case a photograph.

Triathlon start in the water.


For example this happens when you relate a particular sound to an image, it can be a real sound, like a roaring waterfall, or a song you’re hearing in your mind, where the rhythm, lyrics or melody merge perfectly with the scene you’re capturing. It’s like putting a soundtrack to your photos so every dimension is in perfect harmony with one another.

Tad Lo, Laos

The creative process is not unidirectional, in contrary this work flow moves in many ways. It feeds from all kind of sources. Like in a jam session the musicians play improvisational chords suggesting new ways of coordination.

Sometimes when listening to music you can glimpse beautiful landscape scenes. Similarly, when photographing it’s easy to visualize sounds and rhythms.

Lombok, Indonesia

Maybe the viewers won’t be able to guess what type of music or what particular song was playing in the background or the one imagined by the photographer, perhaps they listen to a different song when looking at your image, or perhaps they tune in to the same wavelength you’re transmitting with your ideas and both of you dance to the same picture.

Another example on how to incorporate a fourth dimension is by storytelling. You can do so with a single image or with a selection of them which together create a coherent body of work.

Zona Infanti

To help you tell the story of an action that is happening you need to mentally shape a timeline and find a structure to the list of events in chronological order:

  • Presentation.
    What elements from the background I can show to give a sense of place and be aware of the location of the action.
  • Subjects.
    What or who is the main character of this story.
  • Circumstances.
    Is this situation an everyday act, or is it something extraordinary happening or about to happen. Find key elements to include suggesting this idea of consequences. Find elements everyone associates with time passing by.
  • Cause.
    What is the cause that changes the situation and is provoking suspense in the viewer? What direction is this story going to take potentially because of this cause?. Suggest motion through the use of different elements, adding continuity to an action already in place.
  • Effect.
    What is the result produced by the cause?
    Arrange the elements in the frame and be very conscious about the ones you chose to exclude or partially include which arouse a sense of knowing what will be the resolution beyond the photography frame and continues in time.

This storytelling technique is very useful in street photography but it can be applied to numerous types of photography.

Once again, the creative process that integrates a fourth dimension to your two dimensional images will enhance your artwork and will empower the ability to expand your vision. Break on through the doors of perception!


Break In



About the Author

Miguel is a freelance photographer and educator based in Brighton, who has travelled taking pictures all round the world. With more than 20 years of experience in photography he has the skills and passion about this craft to share the knowledge, advice and help you need. He teaches beginners, amateurs and professionals. Working at your own level and pace you will benefit from a personalised tuition either in a small group tour or in a one-to-one session. From getting to know how to control your camera’s settings to improving your compositions or to get a new and inspiring approach to your work he will help you to communicate visually in an efficient and enjoyable way through a creative and practical system.

2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Very nice read Sir. I need to spend some more time here to effectively learn the craft.

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