World Through The Lens
Before starting to photograph I ask myself several questions which usually include the following;
Which orientation will suit the subject best - Landscape / Portrait.
And which lens is the best to use? E.g. Standard, Wide, Telephoto, Zoom, etc
What type of film will suit the subject best? E.g. Colour, black and white.
Will altering my position help? E.g. A shot from above, below etc?
Are there any intricate patterns to draw the attention?
Can I make use of any natural lines to lead the viewer into the picture?
Can I frame the photograph with something interesting?
Will the use of a foreground object add impact?
Will walking around the subject offer more interesting views?
Will moving in closer cut out unnecessary clutter?
If I fill the frame will it give a feeling of presence, action, power etc?
Will isolating interesting parts of the subject help?
Will the use of props help?
Can I make use of different lighting effects?
Would the use of a filter add to the overall effect. E.g. Soft focus, colour, warm up.
Can I use my 'depth of field' to effect. E.g. To blot out unwanted background objects.
Its surprising how just a simple change in angle/position can offer
you so much more in your photograph. Picking up things you hadnt noticed
previously. For example, reflections, different surfaces, textures, colours.
TIP: Bright sunlight can create harsh shadows on your subjects, but by using the fill-flash on your camera it will help reduce these shadows. So give it a try, as your photos will be more colorful and balanced.
TIP: Another tip is to turn your subjects around (if possible) so the sun is at their back, then use your flash. You can get some fantastic results with this technique and no squinty eyes due to the bright sun!
TIP: Donít let cloudy days make you stay in. Try and take advantage of the diffused and subtle light that cloudy days offer. Cloudy days are nature's professional studio giving you soft light, without shadows. Overcast days also help to enhance reds, yellows and greens and these colors will look really striking when compared to a gray sky. Use the weather to your advantage.
TIP: The more pictures you take, the better your chances are of capturing a truly stunning image. Increase your odds by taking many photos. One of the joys of digital photogrpahy is that you can simply delete the ones you donít like and take another.
TIP: Try taking five or six consecutive photos with a 50% overlap of the subject matter, then use an imageing software programme such as Photoshop, Paintshop Pro to join them together in order to create a panoramic picture. This is great for mountain and hill scenery, beach shots or summertime horizon shots.
TIP: If children or animals are playing, or taking part in an activity, don't take just one shot of them posing / looking at the camera. Take a series of five or six shots of them in action and create a storyboard of their fun/game/sport in your photographic album.
Try as many different aspects and techniques as reasonably possible until you find the one that compliments the subject the best, even consider what time of day/night will best suit a subject by capturing the best light. Early morning sunrises and dusk often provides the best light for scenic photographs when the sun provides the best lighting angles and lets you capture properly exposed highlights and shadows. It's amazing how different light will make your shots much more vivid.
The summer is one of the best times to take photographs. The sun shining brings out all the life and colours of the world coupled with friends and family relaxing and enjoying themselves, itís the best opportunity to capture the memories of a lifetime and many of the steps that I have mentioned will help you to take amazing photos that you can then use to make a beautiful photo album or a stunning piece of wall art.
So next time you feel in the creative mood remember; bend, crouch, lie down, look up, climb, fill space, view all around, frame it, get closer, isolate, lead in and consider using filters and flash where appropriate. And remember shoot, shoot, shoot - don't skimp on your photography, you may never be able to capture the moment again! Photographs of children are particularly precious as they are always changing, growing and don't say young for very long.
Copyright Janet Wood 2001
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