Pretty as a picture (part two)

Photography Group Dec16…as I was saying in the last issue, you should by now be feeling more confident about the simple technicalities of getting a properly exposed digital photograph in the pot, but you are probably thinking, “How can I get a better picture which will give me more satisfaction?”

Here are some suggestions:

Decide what you really want to photograph – are you taking a picture of a person or their house or their house and garden or perhaps the whole sweeping landscape before you? Get in as close as possible to your chosen subject. Almost all photos submitted to The Wychwood need cropping to get rid of unnecessary and distracting detail. In groups make sure people can see you.
Make sure you focus properly. Many mistakes can be corrected by processing afterwards but not seriously out of focus shots. Practise squeezing the button; this will help reduce blurring.
Try to avoid shadows especially on faces. Use an interesting light. Choose a time of day when the light is not just glaring or flat. Also use an unusual or unexpected angle if you can. With the latest cameras you can push the sensitivity up to say 2000 ISO or more without experiencing huge problems, and this can often allow you to take pictures without using flash. If you want a portrait indoors, try standing your subject near a window and then putting a white sheet on the other side of them to reflect some light back into the picture. This will give you some modelling of the features – bear in mind that the word photography is derived from the Greek for painting with light.
Look at a lot of pictures that please you or are generally recognised to be outstanding. You will find that most obey the so-called “rule of thirds” where the main elements of the picture are to be found somewhere on the lines separating the picture into thirds (i.e. horizontally and vertically).
Take a lot of pictures. That is one of the main advantages of digital photography – it is cheap. Then be selective. However do not throw pictures away but store the duds separately – you may be able to use at least parts of them later.
Do not leave your photographs on the camera but download them. Visit YouTube and look at lessons given by people like Scott Kelby or look at websites such as Light Stalker. You could of course join our new Photo group which meets monthly on a Wednesday at the Shaven Crown. Email Ray Derkacz on ray@crazydrake.com or phone him on 07802201100.

Alan Vickers

February – March 2017