Purchased a new digital camera? Not happy with the photos you’re taking? We all want to take those picture perfect photos and capture those precious moments. With some simple advice from our Professional Imaging Experts, you’ll now be able to start taking high quality photographs and relive those special moments. Whether it’s a soccer game, a vacation or a birthday, your photographs will now bring those memories back to life and make you feel like you were just there. That’s what good photography is all about.
The following tips will help you get the most of your digital camera:
Composition is defined as an intellectual creation that combines various elements into an artistic form. Good composition leads to good images. Good images tell a story. You want to establish a connection between you and the subject. You can do this by moving closer to your subject. People tend to make the mistake of taking photos from too far away. As a result, there is too much happening in the photo which causes confusion and lack of interest.
Whether you’re trying to capture people, pets, actions or scenery, it’s important to establish a focal point and not an overall view of the general scene. Include enough around the subject so that you can see what they’re doing. Now get closer to the subject. By doing this, you’ll be taking pictures that give you strong visual imaging which in turn communicates feelings that allow you to relive that moment in time.
People’s perspective or their ability to relate to something can be very different. The height of a person can change one’s perspective. As a child, you would see the world from a different angle than as a six foot tall man. This would relate back to photography. If you take a photo of your child or pet from your perspective, the picture would look much different than if you took it from their level. At times, it’s important to get down to the subject’s level and look at things from a different perspective.
Taking photographs from different angles give you different results. If you take a photo from above, the subject appears smaller; if taken from below, it appears larger. The features can also be distorted. For example, if you take a photo of your dog from above, the head and nose look much larger than the body. If you take it from their level, it is much more proportioned. It all depends on the affect that you are looking for. If you are taking a photo of a rock climber, by shooting the photo from below, the subject would appear larger making for an interesting photograph. It’s important to change your perspective so that you can capture the image and feeling that you are looking for.
Colour has a tremendous impact on photography as it generates psychological responses, emotions and feelings. Colour is described in terms of hue, lightness, brightness and saturation and refers to the appearance of objects and light sources. Warm colours such as reds, yellows and oranges give feelings of warmth and comfort. Cool colours such as blues, greens and earth tones are usually associated with cold and things that are uncomfortable. Warm colours typically draw more pleasurable feelings.
To create mystery or suspense, subdued colours are perfect for this. Less can be more making the viewer a more active participant when looking at the image. If you want to capture romantic or somber feelings, try taking photos with silhouettes.
It’s important to think about colour when taking photographs. Think about the message you want to convey.
Leading lines basically lead the viewer’s eye around the photo and to where you want them to go. The viewer sees the image as you intended them too. Leading lines help tell a story as it leads you around the photograph and directs you to the main subject.
The Rule of Thirds
Many people first start taking pictures by centering the main subject to the middle of the frame. Unfortunately, this tends to produce pictures that are all the same and that can be somewhat boring and static. The Rules of Thirds is one of the most widely know techniques to help solve this problem. It is a guideline to help photographers compose, center and frame their photographs. Start by dividing the area into thirds with two equally-spaced vertical lines and two equally-spaced horizontal lines. This will give you 9 equal sections. The 4 points formed by these intersections can be used to align features and points of interest in a photograph. This creates an image that’s more balanced and more interesting to the eye.
Lighting and Exposure
Lighting is a very important element when taking pictures. Exposure is the measuring and balancing of light. More light within the setting will cause a photograph to be too bright and look overexposed. The less light a setting has, the darker the photograph will appear causing it to look underexposed. To obtain good results, it’s important to understand proper lighting and how it affects photography.
Let’s take a look at natural light. Natural light is inconsistent and varies depending on the time of day. For instance, if you’re taking a picture midday, it takes on more of a blue hue vs. taking a picture in the morning or early evening. This would produce a photograph with more red hues and softer contrast. It’s important to keep this in mind.
Direct light can cause great contrast and many shadows or cause the photography to be too bright. When the sun is directly in front of a subject, this can also cause squinting. This is best used for scenery photographs when the setting features a strong colour. In most cases, side light is preferable and also works well for strongly detailed landscapes. Having light behind a subject is wonderful for emphasizing shapes and creating silhouettes.
When using artificial light such as incandescent light, this often causes a yellow tinge. Florescent light on the other hand produces greenish tinges in colour. White Balance is used to help adjust the colour in different lighting situations.
When taking photographs, you should also be aware of highly reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or glass, behind your subject as they can cause a reflection back into the camera’s lens causing a glare on your image. In this case, it’s best to angle the flash so that the glare reflects away from the camera or to have these objects at the side of the subject.
In digital cameras, you can adjust the white balance in order to control colour tints depending on the shooting situation. Adjusting the white balance varies depending on the camera. Many digital cameras have both automatic and semi-automatic modes to make adjustments. The “auto” is used when you want the camera to automatically adjust to the lighting. Sometimes the automatic feature can be fooled if the scene is dominated by one colour or if it’s absent of any natural white. When using the automatic feature, it is helpful to focus in on an area that is white before taking the actual shot.
The semi-automatic modes offer specialized light settings that can be used to improve the quality of your pictures. For example, use “daylight” for taking outdoor pictures on a bright and sunny day or use “cloudy” when taking outdoor pictures on a cloudy day. Using a flash outdoors can also help balance light on the subject and the background. There are many different settings, depending on your camera. It is important to review your camera’s manual.
Shutter speed is what determines the quality of the images captured on your camera. It manages the amount of light that your digital sensor is exposed to by controlling the amount of time it stays open. The shutter is made of a small plastic sheet that opens and allows light into your camera when you press the shutter release button. The light passes through the “Aperture” which acts like a pupil. The “Aperture Opening” is also knows as an F-Stop. The smaller the F-stop, the larger the opening causing more light to pass through.
How much light enters and how long it stays open is determined by the shutter speed. Faster shutter speeds are good for taking actions shots. Sports events are the perfect example where the scene would be frozen in motion. Slower shutter speeds are used for photographing landscapes or demonstrating a slightly blurry picture of a waterfall. Most digital cameras have preprogrammed modes, such as action, landscape, night, portrait, etc. Check your manual for your camera’s list of settings.
People with light eyes and pets tend to suffer from red-eye more than those with dark eyes. Lighter eyes have a decreased amount of melanin in their irises which allow more light to pass into the retina resulting in a slower pupil reaction. To help reduce red-eye, try using the red-eye reduction feature in your camera. You can also increase illumination in the room or have the person look over your shoulder rather than directly into the camera. This can also be eliminated by editing your pictures by using a computer software program before printing your photographs.
Photography is the art of story telling. All photographs should tell a story and convey a feeling or emotion. So remember to get closer to your subject and take photos from different perspectives. People don’t always have to pose. Don’t be afraid to take candid pictures of natural activity. Before you get started, it’s important to read your camera’s manual. And remember, be patient. Photography can be fun and it is the perfect way to create memories that you can share with your family and friends.