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Text of Tips And Advice On The World Of Digital Photography
Holding the Camera
How you hold your digital camera makes a big difference in sharpness.
I know youve seen this: someone hops out of a car at a beautiful setting, holding up their digital camera with one hand, the camera waving dangerously away from their body as they line up the scene in the LCD; then they punch the shutter and run back into the car.
That almost guarantees a less-than-sharp photo; sharpness they paid for in that cameras lens and sensor.
Heres how to hold and shoot with an SLR type camera (instructions for left and right hands are the same whether you are left or right handed; the camera is designed to be held one way for best sharpness):
Grab the right side of the camera with your right hand, thumb at the back, and index finger over the shutter.
The rest of your fingers curled around the front of the camera.
Many cameras have some sort of grip on this side just for this purpose.
Turn your left hand palm up and place the camera in your palm.
Curl your thumb around the left side of the lens.
Curl the rest of your fingers around the right side. The size of the lens will affect how you actually do this. Do whatever seems most comfortable.
For vertical shots, simply rotate the camera in the palm of your hand. Some photographers like their right hand at the top because it keeps fingers of both hands clear of each other.
Others like to move the right hand to the bottom because the arm is lower and can be kept more stable.
Despite the fact that the fingers get a bit jumbled.
Despite the fact that the fingers get a bit jumbled.
Keep your elbows in close to your sides.
It's not unusual to see people looking like birds, flapping their elbows as they try to take a picture.
Squeeze the camera shutter down gently. Never punch or jab it; thatll move the camera.
It helps to push the shutter down halfway, and then a simple, firm movement of the finger sets off the shutter without much effort.
Never hold your breath. Try just holding your breath and youll see that youll start to shake.
Breathe quietly, though if you want the optimum technique, take a breath, then breathe out as you release the shutter (this is an Olympic sharpshooter technique).
An essential part of taking any great photo is to simplify your image; and therere many ways to do that:
Pay close attention to the predominant colors in your image, and eliminate any that create conflicts of calling unnecessary attention to themselves and to less important areas in the photograph.
Grabbing (and holding) the viewers eye.
Here are some things to consider that grab a viewers attention:
A clearly seen subject.
If you have to explain a photograph, then the subject isnt clearly seen.
Dramatic light. Dramatic and interesting light on your scene always gains attention as long as it compliments and enhances your subject.
Unusual subjects. An unusual subject immediately gains attention as long as its clearly seen in the photograph. If you have to point it out, then it isnt an effective photograph.
Uncommon angles. Show your subject from an angle that people dont usually see. Get that camera down low or up high; and look at the side or back of the subject.
Isolate your subject. Therere many ways to make a subject stand out from its background.
Basically, you look for contrasts between the subject and its surroundings. Here are some you might try:
Brightness contrast. Move so your subject is against a background thats lighter or darker than it is. This can be a very effective way of making a subject really pop out in a photograph.
Color contrast. Whole books have been written on colors and how they contrast with one another. The key is to look for colors that are different in the subject and background.
Sharpness contrast. Use depth of field to make your subject sharp and everything else soft in focus.
Use a telephoto lens. With a longer focal length, you can often separate your subject from the rest of the world simply by making your subject larger in the frame and eliminating distractions.
Use a wide-angle lens. Put on a wide-angle lens and get up close to the subject. This makes your subject big and its surroundings small.
Get your subject away from the background. Having a person move away from the wall is easy, but what about subjects that dont move so easily? Find a different angle to your subject to change its relationship to the background.
Composition: Landscape Photography
Its necessary to have a strong graphic drawing-factor in your compositions, so be selective when selecting your foregrounds.
They need to be just as cleanly designed and well lit as any other part of your composition.
Think of the foreground as providing a clear and intriguing pathway into the scene; an element that leads the eyes into the image.
Examine the shapes and forms of the foreground to see how they might relate to objects beyond them.
The image can usually be enhanced by contrasts, like delicate flowers before rugged mountains or by similarities like rounded beach pebbles before wave-worn sea cliffs.
Improving Your Artistic Eye
Choose a good subject.
Subject choice is probably the most important part of the photographic process.
Dont simply look for an interesting subject; find a way for it to be shown in a different or unusual manner.
Look for different things like how light and shadows touch an object, or textures, shapes, patterns, the way colors interact.
Once youve selected your subject, its paramount to maintain the balance of the shot.
Ask yourself: How well does everything fit?
Is something important running of the edge?
Is the essence or subject of the photograph distracted by other elements in the image?
Have I distilled the image down to what its really all about?
Try different compositions. The rule of thirds is a good guideline to help your photo design.
It separates the pictures frame into a grid, with two evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines dividing the image into thirds.
Then, when placing the subject at the intersections of these lines, the picture becomes more visually pleasing because the subject is not centered or symmetrical.
However, keep in mind that this tried-and-true technique isnt always the best choice for a composition.
Practice by proofing. Just like writing an essay, you proof read your image by checking it