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Camera House : Better Pictures 11
Today just about everyone is an amateur photographer. It seems you can’t go to an event, visit a friend or celebrate an occasion without someone snapping your image. While there is a plethora of happy memories being captured on camera, that’s not to say that these images are necessarily up to scratch. So how do we ensure our party snaps, birthday images and family portraits make the cut? Some basic rules of photography will assist you in crafting good-looking photos every time. The rule of Thirds In order to break the rules you first need to know the rules. One of the fundamental rules of photography is the ‘Rule of Thirds’. Put simply, if you divide your image into a grid (like a game of noughts and crosses) and if you then place your subject on one of the lines on that grid, it will be more pleasing to your eye than if you position them in the centre of the frame. PorTraiT v landscaPe Traditionally, portraits are shot in ‘portrait orientation’ – hence the name – but sometimes positioning your frame in landscape format makes for a more interesting image as you can also make the background a feature of your photo or you can crop in tightly on your subject for more interesting results. PoinT of view Most photos are taken from front on, at eye level. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you can really add some impact to your images simply by switching things about a little and taking a new angle on your subject. Try climbing up a ladder or on a chair and shoot from up high or alternatively get down low for a different perspective. When shooting kids or animals try getting down to their level – you’ll instantly see how much this improves your portraits. The eyes have iT The eyes have often been referred to as the window to the soul – in fact, to this day, some indigenous cultures still believe this to be true – s o much so that they refuse to have their photo taken lest the camera steal their soul away. It stands to reason then that whether you’re capturing a group shot or a family photo, you want to ensure you have the eyes sharply in focus. For the majority of instances this will be true but under some circumstances a photo where the subject is looking away from the camera can be incredibly powerful. So look for moments of interaction between group subjects or opportunities when an indirect gaze could add mystique. candid or Posed? There was a time when posed shots were the only option when it came to getting a good portrait or group photo. However with the advances in digital technology, taking great-looking candid images can be just one shutter click away. Cameras like the new Nikon 1 offer smart photo selector, which captures a series of images in quick succession, then saves the best five for you to choose from for a picture perfect portrait with one click. If you do want to pose your subject be sure to establish a rapport beforehand, (easy enough if it’s family or friends), so they will be more relaxed on camera. If you have an idea for a shot in mind, try explaining your concept beforehand then let them run with it – you’ll wind up with a better image if you loosen the reins a little and go with the flow – just keep your shutter finger at the ready! on locaTion Many of our favourite memoires are while we are on holiday – so capturing the essence of that special trip or family visit is another important aspect to consider when shooting holiday snaps. Whether you’re visiting the world’s biggest theme park or simply hanging out with grandma and grandpa, you’ll want to immortalise these moments on film. The trouble with shooting at popular holiday destinations (like the Harbor Bridge, Opera House, Big Banana) is that the images you create are often generic – they’ve been shot so many times they’ve lost all meaning. Instead, try to bring your unique personality into play. Try different angles; explore the surrounds to see what you can incorporate into the frame for a more interesting shot. Look for frames within the frame (nature is a great provider) or perhaps utilise one of your camera’s creative effects (like miniature or selective colour) for a different take. Travel PorTraiTs When shooting portraits of street life or interesting people you meet while on your travels, be sure to include the environment. Take a photojournalist approach – a shot of a street vendor will be more interesting if you can see their wares. You can still go in for the close-up but ensure you capture your subject in their environment as well. exPlore The foreground and background When taking your holiday snaps look for instances where you can employ a subject in context with its background. A child eating some fairy floss is simply a cute image of a kid – a child eating fairy floss trailing behind his weary parents, with the looming image of Luna Park and its rides in the background, tells a whole story... It’s all about adding context to your subject and its location. PuT yourself in The PicTure How many times have you come back from vacation only to discover that you have plenty of images of national monuments and sometimes of your family and friends – but none of you enjoying your holiday? Most cameras have self-timers and with the help of a compact tripod, it’s easy to add yourself into the picture. Also don’t be afraid to hand your camera over to friends so they can snap photos of you too. And with social networking and Wi-Fi technology making in-roads into the camera market, you can even control your camera via your smart device making it simpler than ever to put yourself in the picture! ■ 31 feature Family album 030_Bpics11_HolidaySnaps.indd 31 27/11/12 2:05 PM
Better Pictures 10
Better Pictures 12