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Through the Viewfinder

Through the viewfinder

Some photo advice from Stan Thompson,
Regtransfers roving photographer.

Modern digital cameras these days are capable of producing technically perfect results, i.e. images that are properly exposed, sharply focussed and captured with a faithful colour balance.

But it’s the person behind the camera that can make all the difference. A bit of imagination and foresight, when it comes to composing your shot, can turn a good photograph into a great one!

For example, if you’re photographing people, make sure that you look for a background that’s free of clutter and distractions. Take extra care when positioning your subjects so that there are no extraneous items, like trees and lampposts that appear to be protruding from your people’s heads!

And get in close. When I first took up photography, I was always told to fill the frame. It’s great advice that works well in most cases, especially when photographing people. Use your camera’s zoom lens (or move in closer) to produce several variations of the same shot; a big close-up of faces or a head and shoulders shot is often more appealing than a full length group composition.

With digital cameras, you don’t have to worry about running out of film, so you can concentrate on taking several variations to capture that perfect shot. And when photographing a group of people, make sure that you take more than one picture, as somebody is bound to blink during the exposure and their eyes will be closed when you view your results.

Try also to vary your viewpoint when composing your pictures. Crouch down to get a low angle shot or look for a high vantage point. These camera positions can often add a more interesting and dramatic perspective (especially if you use the wide angle end of your zoom lens) than what is seen from the normal eye-level viewpoint.

And don’t be afraid to break some of the taboos of photography! Who said that you must always have the sun behind you when you take your pictures? For example, with careful camera positioning, you can achieve some stunning portrait shots with the sun behind your subject to backlight their hair and using your camera’s fill-in flash option to illuminate their faces. This technique will produce the kind of flattering and intimate portrait shots that you see on magazine covers. And your subjects won’t be squinting from all that direct sunlight!

So don’t be afraid to experiment. A little bit of patience and ingenuity will make photography more pleasurable and will help you to produce more interesting and exciting results.

Finally, don’t forget to set the image quality function on your digital camera to ‘high’ to ensure that you capture your pictures at their highest resolution. This will guarantee optimum results should you have your photographs printed or submitted to us for publication.

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