How to Take Dandy Pictures!

September 5th, 2006 / 0 Comments
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Now that I’ve finally begun using my flickr account, I’ve received some pleasureable feedback on the quality of my pictures; especially considering that all of the images are taken with my technological boundary pushing 2.0 megapixel Canon A60. While a formidable contender amongst pocket size cameras, even a great pocket size digital camera is no match for the precision and flexibility of an SLR. Despite this, there are several technical concepts that can help to improve the photo’s composition irregardless of the quality of your digital camera.

  1. Don’t Zoom. Zooming via lenses generally reduces your depth of field making your image appear flatter. When possible, zoom out and try physically moving closer to the object.

  2. Adjust your height. Crouch down or stand on a chair to add persepective to the image. The former is especially useful when photographing children.

  3. Learn the difference between a viewfinder and a gun scope (obey the rule of thirds). Don’t frame your subject as if you want to hit them with a bullet as this will kill the composition (haha..). Placing your subject off center helps the eye move around the image naturally creating a stronger connection with the viewer.

  4. Start early. Early morning light increases the shadows around your subject which helps build mood and depth. Lighting is most dramatic shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset, and is poor when the sun is directly overhead, between 10:00am and 2:00pm.

  5. Avoid the flash. Though many cameras are able to reduce red-eye, I have yet to find one that can reduce the shiny waxy reflection of the flash bulb. This is one area where you will be more limited with a pocket size camera (as the big boys have more advanced apertures), but if nothing else try opening shades and using lamps to draw in more natural light.

  6. Take lots of pictures. With the huge capacity of modern digital cameras, there is no reason to limit the number of pictures you take. Use this as an opportunity to try different things, lighting, angle, distance, to see how they affect the composition. I generally take 3-5 images as a default and up to 15 or 20 if it’s something important.

Above all, the key to improving your picture taking ability is to practice. You may have to think about these concepts very intentionally at first, though sooner or later they will start to come more naturally. As a starting point try making one of these points your focus the next time you’re out shooting.

Hopefully you’ll find these concepts useful. If you have any advise yourself, feel free to place it in the comments section below. (**Feel free to link your pictures too!!) I’ll also be posting on idealogical practices for dandy pictures sometime shortly.

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