Working towards better photographs

Posted on 25 November 2013  |  Professional Photography

As the holiday season draws nearer and more folk are probably going to enjoy some kind of break or time off, it is highly likely that we’re going to see all types of holiday snaps on the various social media like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. With so many mobile phones now able to take photos, I thought it might be a good time to suggest a few tips towards better images. These are general hints for the quick point-and-shoot type camera.

  1. Use the rule of thirds – in your mind’s eye, divide your viewfinder into thirds across and vertically so you have 9 blocks. Position your subject into one of the thirds (or on the cross-hairs) as a way of making a more interesting composition instead of putting it exactly in the middle.
  2. Move around your subject (if you can) so you cut out the “messy” background – you might have a wonderful subject but something in the background that will spoil the picture, like a car, or a street sign or a carport. Moving around might get you a better background that won’t distract from your subject.
  3. Don’t let shadows fall onto a face – rather take the portrait in full sun or in shade instead of under a tree with shadows making lines across the face.
  4. Watch the back-light – too much light behind the subject could make them very dark. A typical example is taking a picture of someone sitting at a table in a restaurant with a beautiful sea view behind them. The chances are you’ll get a wonderful shot of the sea and a dark blob where your friend is. Try taking the same picture by using a flash to light the face, or if that doesn’t work, borrow a silver tray from the waiter and get them to hold it at an angle and reflect some light onto their face.
  5. Where you can – use a tripod to get stability for your shot.

Watch for the next lot of tips for taking better photos. Practice as much as you can and don’t be afraid to delete. With digital images, you can afford to take a lot and then have the luxury of selecting only the best. Ditch the rest – you’ll take much better ones the next time! Gary Player said that the more he practised, the luckier he got. Photography is no different. The lucky shot will come – just keep practising!

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