Thursday, February 16, 2012

5 little photo details to keep in mind

Ask any successful professional ____ (insert occupation here) what elevates them from their competitors and they'll all tell you something similar; attention to details.

Bring this into the world of photography and we can find many lessons to learn. Now I know what most of you are saying; "But, I'm not looking to be a professional photographer." While that may be true the simple fact is this - you are here because you want to take your photography to the next level, whatever that level is. If that's the case, then the above statement still applies and you can learn from the simple lessons. Here are five to keep in mind.

  1. Rule of thirds - If you've studied photography for any length of time you have heard of the rule of thirds. If you bought your camera yesterday... well, look it up. Add drama to your otherwise static images. Push the focus to the side but try to create leading lines to the point of focus. Nothing creates a more boring statement than boring symmetry. Not to say you can't occasionally center your subject but you have to know the rules before you can break them.
  2. Show your subject - Speaking of subject, don't loose sight of what your subject is. Keep it in mind and make sure it is obvious in the frame. If it gets lost among the background move in closer or shift your point of view. Preview your image in the camera to make sure your framing is good. If not, recompose and shoot it again. When in doubt leave it out.
  3. Watch your background - Keeping in line with number two, watch out for distracting background elements interfering with your subject. Trees, poles and weird elements that look like they grow from your subject's head are not flattering. Dark subject on dark backgrounds with not definition is distracting. Textures can add confusion as well. Use depth of field to tell your story.
  4. Keep it level - Speaking of backgrounds... I've seen way too many sloping horizons and angled door frames to keep count. It happens too easily since looking into a tiny viewfinder can be deceiving. However, there is no reason for not correcting it afterwards. Most post processing software have tools to correct this. Some cameras even have a grid available in the viewfinder.
  5. Know the limits - Okay, not technically a little detail as it's rather involved but it's something to always keep in mind. Understanding what your equipment can and can not do is critical to getting that shot. Know your focus distance, sync speed, depth of field rage, custom menus, etc. This requires spending time with your equipment. The more you shoot the more you learn.
Hope these help. Keep shooting!

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