Monday, July 28, 2008

Some Basic Guidelines to Remember

Here are some simple guidelines to help improve your photography and come up with better images. These will be followed by more hints and guidelines in postings to come.

Simplify the Shot

Define your subject and avoid distractions. Oftentimes this just means moving in closer and filling the frame! This way you will be able to eliminate distracting backgrounds and draw attention to the subject.

Remember the Rule of Thirds

This is a strategy that pleases the eye, oftentimes without really knowing why. It basically means dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This provides four points of intersection. Placing the subject at any one of these points of intersection makes for a more pleasing image.

Follow the Lines

The human eye instinctively follows lines, so anytime they can be included in an image, they can make for a more compelling shot. The secret, however, is being sure the lines emphasize rather than detract from the subject. They should lead the viewer’s eye to the subject. There are diagonal lines, curved lines, s-curved lines, converging lines, and even triangles.

More to Come

Look forward to more hints and guidelines in future postings. Until then, happy shooting!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Developing Your Photographer's Eye

Discovering the Photographer within You

“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mark Twain

Love is in the air...

You must always remember: People take great photographs; it’s not the camera. The camera is only a tool in the hands of a photographer. Beverly Schultz, photography instructor, said: “I can still remember how I felt when I bought my first expensive camera, took a set of pictures, had them developed, and found nothing of interest in the batch.”

She continued, “The point when I knew my photography had crossed the line from amateur to professional was when I could shoot a series of images and know that I’d captured the images I was after. I didn’t have to wait to see [them], because I had learned to see the images before I took them, and I knew how to use my equipment well enough to capture the images I saw. ”

You can become a better photographer. The first step in doing so is to develop your eye. Learn to see the image before you take it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you know exactly what photos you will shoot and the contents of each one beforehand. It means that you recognize that the subject you see is exactly what you’re after, then you put into play everything you know about taking a good photograph and you capture that decisive moment. By being able to define your subject before you shoot, you can design other elements of the image to emphasize and support that subject. [This will be the subject of future postings.]

So, don't think you can't take better photos because you don't have a better camera. At the same time, don't let the ease of a fully automatic point-and-shoot camera lull you into the idea that all you have to do is "point and shoot"! Mitchell Beazley of Kodak said: “The speed and ease of pressing the shutter release on a modern camera can be a stumbling block to imaginative photography unless you can recognize that most of the work involved in creating a picture should be done beforehand.”

Please post any thoughts, comments or questions you may have!