Photography 101: Picture Taking Basics
Just because you aren?t a professional photojournalist doesn?t mean you can?t take striking photographs. Anyone can learn basic techniques that will turn your summer vacation pictures into extraordinary images.
Focus on Subject
The subject of your photograph is the most important part of the picture?it may be a person or a spectacular part of the scenery. This is where you want the viewer?s eyes to focus and you can do this through some simple techniques.
A busy or distracting background will draw attention away from the subject. When you take a picture, look at the entire viewfinder and not just the subject. Ensure there isn?t a tree growing from someone?s head or something distracting going on in the background. A plain background tends to show off the subject.
Make sure your subject is in focus. This is especially important if your subject isn?t in the center of your picture. Point and click cameras focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder. If your subject is off to one side, you?ll have to lock the focus on your subject then reposition the camera so the subject is off-center. See your camera?s owners manual to learn how to lock the focus.
Consider the Light
Light is the second most important aspect of a photograph. Whether the photographer utilizes natural light or a flash?the type, amount and location of the light source should always be considered. Different lighting can change the entire appearance of a photograph.
The bright sun can create deep shadows on the face and intensify wrinkles, scars and blemishes. When taking pictures on sunny days, it?s a good idea to use your flash to lighten your subject?s face and reduce unattractive shadows.
Overcast days often provide pleasing results without the use of a flash or other artificial light sources. If you do use a flash, try the camera?s fill-flash mode if it has one. The flash will lighten the subject?s appearance and make it stand out.
When using a flash, make sure the subject is within the flash?s range. Most cameras have a range of up to 15 feet. Check your owner?s manual for the specifics on your camera?s flash range. To be safe, don?t position your subjects further than 10 feet away.
Remember if you don?t like the light positioning on the subject, you can always move the subject or yourself. Try different angles until the light works to enhance the picture instead of take away from it.
The subject is the most important aspect of your photograph, but doesn?t always have to be in the center of the photo. Sometimes you can add dramatic effects to your picture simply by shifting the subject to one side or the other. Play with your pictures and see how repositioning the camera slightly can alter the image.
Taking a picture of a person close up can have a completely different feel than if the person is in the distance. Sometimes the subject?s eyes or expression can tell the whole story. Don?t be afraid to get close to your subjects, whether they are people, pets or even flowers. Another tip?get down to the level of your subject. This means bending down to photograph children. This will make your photos more personable.
Sometimes tipping your camera on its side to take a vertical picture can improve the quality of the photo. Tall subjects can fill a vertical frame much better than a horizontal frame.
Candid photos make entertaining pictures, but sometimes it?s OK to direct your subjects, add props and choose locations. Hats, big ice cream cones or having the group look in the same direction with animated faces can add personality to a picture.
Remember the Basics
Many rare photo opportunities are bungled by forgetting the basics. Remember not to move the camera while taking a photo and it?s a good idea to use a tripod when shooting at night. Make sure the lens cap is off, the lens is clean and your fingers are away from the lens. In addition, it?s a good idea to carry extra batteries and memory cards or film.
Kodak, (n.d.). Top 10 tips for great pictures. Retrieved Apr. 05, 2006, from Talking Great Pictures Web site: www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=2/3/38&pq-locale=en_US.
Cristopher Fowers is a Writer/Reviewer for TopTenREVIEWS.com. TopTenREVIEWS features expert reviews for technology and entertainment products and services. For more information and an in-depth review on photo hsring services, see the TopTenREVIEWS Photo Sharing Services. We do the research so you don?t have to?.