• Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tangents

Six Ways to a Better Photograph

By Ihtisham Kabir
How background affects the photo. Photo: Ihtisham Kabir
How background affects the photo. Photo: Ihtisham Kabir

Everyone seems to have a digital camera these days. Because of the large market, manufacturers spend good money on research and development of new cameras.  Part of this research is the work of legions of software     engineers aimed at improving camera usage.
But I often wonder how much of that research actually benefits the user of the camera. Many people feel   technologically daunted by their   cameras. Mobile phone cameras   continue to be clunky to use and often behave unpredictably.
It is no surprise, then, that people are often disappointed with photos they take. If you are constantly      tinkering with the camera, trying to make it take the picture when you want to, you will never find time to pay attention to composing the    photograph.

Here are six ways to improve your photographs.

1. Find your mode
Find a camera mode that works for you and stick to it. For example, if you have a “P” mode in your digital    camera, use it for all occasions. For cell phone cameras, stick with a basic mode that focuses quickly and turns on the flash when needed.
Once you have found a camera setting that always works predictably for you, you are free to concentrate on what you are actually photographing. Now you can compose your photograph.
2. Light
Photography is light. So pay     attention to the light falling on your subject. If it is too dark or too harsh you can move the subject or wait for better light.
3. Background
The subject of the photograph is   usually on the foreground. That's what we care about. So why is the          background so important? That's because the wrong background     distracts the viewer. In the first      photograph above, the leaves behind the lizard's tail distract you from   looking and appreciating the curve of the tail. Moving my viewpoint slightly in the second photograph, I was able to place the leaf away from the tail, improving the photograph.
4. Edges
Look at the edges of your photograph carefully when taking the picture. For example, if the feet or hands of your subject fall outside the photograph, it creates a sensation of cutting them off. This bothers the viewer                  subconsciously. Also watch for bright objects at the edges and exclude them from the photograph. Otherwise, they will drag the attention of the viewer away from the subject.
5. Framing
Try to “frame” the subject when photographing it, that is, find a way to enclose the subject with lines or a circle. Framing helps direct the viewer's attention to the subject. For example, a child looking out a window makes an attractive photograph because the face is framed by the window.
6. Horizon
A common mistake is to tilt the camera from the horizontal. Because mobile phones are small and light, it is especially easy to tilt them inadvertently. But a small amount of tilt can spoil your photograph. Hold the phone or camera with both hands and check the horizon when taking the photograph.
With some practice you will find these steps become habitual. Then you will be able to compose your        photograph quickly and instinctively.


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Published: 12:01 am Saturday, May 10, 2014

Last modified: 1:32 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TAGS: Better Photograph digital camera new cameras. Mobile phone cameras

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