Known for his symmetrical compositions, vibrant colour palettes, and meticulous attention to detail, Anderson creates whimsical and visually captivating worlds in his films. It’s what we call the Wes Anderson aesthetic – which is equal parts; tea at grandmas, manic pixie dream girl, and uniform passport photo.
If you’re eager to infuse your own photography with the charming essence of Wes Anderson, look no further. And to help you achieve this elaborate vision we have culminated past Head On Photo Awards finalists and Head On Photo Festival exhibitors that nailed the Anderson-look.
Symmetry is a hallmark of Wes Anderson’s visual style. Aim for balanced compositions, with centered or evenly distributed subjects. Pay attention to the lines and structures within your frame, such as architecture, landscapes, or even props, and utilize them to create a sense of harmony and order. Consider using a tripod to ensure precise alignment and maintain a consistent aesthetic throughout your photos.
Play with Colours
Colour palettes in Wes Anderson’s films are often vibrant and carefully curated, contributing to the overall whimsical atmosphere. Experiment with bold, complementary colour combinations that catch the eye. Pastel hues, vintage tones, and pops of primary colors can help evoke the Anderson aesthetic. Think about how different colours interact within your frame and how they can enhance the mood or story you want to convey. Use colours as big bold signifiers – Hotel? Make it pastel pink. Sky? Make it pure robin’s egg blue. A suit? Make it a dirty suede orange.
Attention to Details
Wes Anderson’s films are known for their intricate set designs and meticulously arranged props. Nothing is lived in and nothing is touched! If something is in disarray – it’s the most meticulous disaster you’ve ever seen! To achieve a similar level of detail in your photos, focus on incorporating whimsical and quirky elements. Select props and objects with interesting textures and shapes that add visual interest to your composition that hint at a hidden narrative. Take your time to arrange the elements within your frame to create a cohesive and visually pleasing narrative.
Experiment with Aspect Ratios
Anderson often utilizes unique aspect ratios, such as the boxy 1.85:1 or the even more square 1.37:1, to frame his scenes. This adds to the viscerally manufactured feeling – that is so Anderson. That we are witnessing a highly choregraphed farce. While aspect ratios can be adjusted during post-processing, consider experimenting with different aspect ratios in-camera to achieve a more authentic Anderson look. These unconventional ratios can add an extra layer of visual storytelling and give your photos a cinematic feel.
Reduce the contrast and highlights
Anderson’s films are well lit. If you’re familiar with his work, you will notice that every detail in each scene is always highly visible, even for night scenes and even super zoomed-out scenes. Other than adjusting the brightness and exposure of your photo, you can reduce the contrast and highlights to make it dreamlike and emulate vintage photography.