Thursday, April 17, 2008

Photography 101

When my not that much younger sister and I were in Florida, we were discussing future blog ideas. I told her I was thinking of doing occasional posts about taking better photos. Now, she thought it was a good idea despite what the rest of you may think. So this is the first post of an occasional series called Photography 101. I know that most of you use point and shoot cameras so I am going to try and keep that in mind. These will be just simple and easy tips that can make a big difference in how your pictures turn out. Trust me, I have made all of these mistakes and more. In fact, I am still making mistakes as the following post will show. So on to tip number one.

Tip Number One: Pay attention to what is going to be in the background of that picture when you are composing your shot. Sometimes the background can add to the "story" of your shot but if the background is too distracting, it will pull the focus off the object you are trying to photograph. Look at this picture which was only taken two days ago proving that I am still making mistakes.

dave, slippery rock, 4.08

The focus is supposed to be on D, but he is competing with the green roof of the school and the fans in the stands (who happen to be wearing red which is even more distracting). In fact, once I had it up on my computer screen I liked it even less than I did when I had looked at it in the viewfinder. I decided to convert it to a black and white photo which does help. Converting it to black and white helps keep the focus on D instead of the background.

dave, slippery rock, 4.08

I had an idea of trying to get a picture of D with the dugout in the background. Now that is a background that might have worked becaue it could have added to the story of the photo. But, sadly I couldn't find a place on the sidelines where I could get a shot like that. Maybe next time.

After 54 pictures, yes I looked, I realized what the background of all the photos I had just taken looked like. I moved just 10 feet to my left and that completely changed the background of my pictures. Now the focus of the photo stays in the foreground as it should. In fact, I now have the option of leaving them in color if I choose.

dave, slippery rock, 4.08

It only took 10 feet to to change the background to something that wasn't competing with the action on the field. I know it isn't always easy to do or even possible, but the next time you snap a picture take a quick look and see what your background looks like and use your feet to change it if you don't like what you see.

3 comments....porters always have something to say!:

curlz said...

Isn't here also something about leading lines? I read that in a scrapbook magazine. I'm struggling w/my ball pictures. Did you use a tripod? That field with the way it faces the sun during these games is the worst for taking shots of the batters or any person you might know that plays first base. BLAH!

carriegel said...

leading lines? yes that will be a future post. i have a good example of that.

no tripod.

i sat on the ground behind the backstop. i used a middle of the road aperature and with the sun my shutter speed was really fast. if needed i could have taken my aperature down even further. remember small number, big hole, more light, therefore the shutter speed can be faster.

pray for a cloudy day. that is the best for pictures.

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