Better Photo Tips
Good Quality Camera
A good quality camera will have:
- HD (high definition) abilities
- clear 8x's or more zoom ability
- The sensor should be of good size. The APS-C sensor is far superior to the point and shoot sensor found on cell phones.
Helpful optional equipment:
- Red eye correction
- Interchangeable lenses (APS-C)
- Shaky hand correction.
- Megapixels are not always a good thing with a camera. Cramming so many pixels in a picture can actually obscure the image by including too much noise in the background.
The only way to determine if you really like a camera is to review photographs and your own personal experience with it. I can read all the specs available for a camera, but in the end it's my personal taste that will determine if I like it or not.
Are You a Photographer?
Do you enjoy photography? I sure do! One of my most memorial gifts was a very nice camera. I must have taken a hundred pictures the day I unwrapped it. The camera was such that it "couldn't take a bad shot". Well let me tell you, "it couldn't, but I could!". After several rolls of pictures that were "OK", but not great, I decided to take a course in photography. My technique needed a major overhaul as well as my camera.
Most of the material I learned was really basic information. My errors were obvious, after the course taught me what to look for to enhance a picture. Here I'll share with you some of the things I learned about using the right camera and taking a better picture.
Besides technique you need a quality camera. All the technique in the world won't make up for a poor quality camera. The difference between a poor quality camera and a good camera are:
- Shaky hand correction
- Zoom quality
As for technique, some of these may seem obvious to you, but you'll be surprised how often these errors get into our pictures.
- Foreign objects
- Background noise
- Blurry photo's
Here are a few shots where you can clearly see the difference in a poor quality camera and a good quality camera. Both camera's are acceptable, but the photo's from the Canon are just a bit clearer and detailed. The shots with the Aiptek are good, but obviously could be much better. The speed of which the camera can take pictures is a plus. While I was out shooting today a hummingbird happened by. The Aiptek couldn't recover fast enough to capture him before he was on his way!
I was able to take not only one, but two, shots of the hummingbird while the Aiptek was still trying to recover from the previous shots I had taken.
What Is Important To You In A Photo?
That is what it all really comes down to; What is important to you in a photo. I know a woman that has no interest at all in a photograph if it doesn't have a human in it! Seriously! I can show her a photo of a beautiful, color-rich, sunset, and she doesn't even want to look at it. She'll comment with, "Where are the people?" or "Why are you showing me that? There's nobody in it."
Then, on the other hand, I have a friend that doesn't care for people in photo's. He feels they "ruin" the photo. He wants to see tree's and forests, unadultered by humans.
Everyone is different, and that's great! It provides us with a rich mixture of art. Recognize what you like to see in a photo, and go with it! Perfect it! Photograph it!
My favorite photo's will have a horse in it, or a green valley with a horse grazing, stuff like that. I've recently begun taking close-up photo's of horses. I mean real close! Taking a section, or body part, and really getting the detail of it in a photo.
Your subject should not be in a shadow. If the shadow is unavoidable, put yourself in the shadow also, this will reduce the contrast.
Be wary of shadows falling across the face or the focal point of the subject. A wayward shadow falling across the face can sometimes look like a beard or mustache or both. This is not particularly flattering on a picture of a woman, so mind your shadow's.
Pay attention to what foreign objects are in the background. The photo, at the right, was one of my first I entered in a contest. It's pretty old, so the color isn't as bright and true as it was in its day, but it's a good example of where I began. Now, I can easily see the problem. Do you see what is wrong with the picture?
What's Wrong With the Picture
The first no-no I notice is the trailer is very dark. The shadows can barely be made out if you look real hard.
The other no-no, which had to be pointed out to me when I could not see the problem, is the hose running across the yard. I have skewered my daughters head with a hose!
Better lighting and removing the hose from the background would have made all the difference between "Honorable Mention" and a "First" or "Second" place.
Here's the photo without the hose. I used the dodge tool in GIMP to enhance the shadows in the trailer and copy, paste and smudge to remove the hose.
Zoom and Background Noise
The subject of your picture should be front and center. It is better to have two seperate photo's with a subject front and center in each, rather than one photo of two subjects that are not front and center. The picture at the right is of two subjects, but they barely grab your attention. The viewer can't see their faces very well or which subject they should be looking at.
If I want the viewer to see what I want to convey to them, then I need to zoom in and get rid of any background noise that is distracting their attention.
Now the viewer can see the girl's helmet has fallen down on her face and she's being silly with it. You couldn't see that at all in the original.
The photo now has what I want the viewer to focus on front and center.
Whatever you may be photographing, the subject of the photo deserve a stage of their own, so make sure they are front and center!
Sunrises & Sunsets
A sunrise or sunset can provide an incredible opportunity for some really good photo's. Too much sky or too much landshape can distract from the focus, the sunset/sunrise.
With all the photo editing programs on the market now enhancing a photo is easy. I use the free, download program GIMP to enhance my pictures. Contrasting and enhancing to really bring out the subject of your picture.
Below is a picture I took of a sunset. The tree's and horizon are not contrasting well. It's hard to tell where the sunset ends and the horizon begins.
Before FrameClick thumbnail to view full-size
Your photo is not complete without a frame. A frame adds so much to a photo that some (actually most) contests won't even accept an entry unless it is framed!
A frame "completes" a photo and enhances colors in the photo. If there is an item in a photo that you want to be more prominent, yet it's a small item, then use a frame with the same color as the item in it. It will make the viewer see the item much more than if you had no color in the frame at all.
Below are several shots of the same sunset as above, I have added some contrast to define the horizon, and added a frame. Each photo has a different frame color. Look through them and notice the difference each colored frame has on the photograph. Some of the frames really ruin the photo, some enhance the colors in it, and others are not influential at all.
A couple of the frames I duplicated one of the colors already in the photo and created a frame with that color and added a black edge to it. I prefer to use the colors in the picture because I think it really makes that color pop out and the black trim accentuates the color in the frame.
After - Framed!Click thumbnail to view full-size
A good camera is one important part of taking pictures and getting the right shot. Shadows, foreign objects, blurry or far away subjects, is right up there with importance of the right shot. But most of all have fun with it! Take lots of photo's and you'll find that perfect shot in some of them!