If you think all there is to taking photographs is pointing and clicking, most of your pictures are probably fuzzy blobs. Good photography requires an understanding of equipment, color, lighting and composition. Professional photographers can help you turn simple situations into stunning photos.
Before you can begin taking high-quality photographs, you have to understand the basics. The following primer will help you better understand your camera and how to get the best picture possible of your subject.
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E Q U I P M E N T
Although equipment is somewhat important in determining your results, what’s more important is the person behind the camera. Photographers are no longer hindered by the heavy cameras of the past. Now, they can take photographs anytime and anywhere. You can choose to use a single lens reflex (SLR) camera or a point-and-shoot model. The SLR offers many capabilities that the point-and-shoot lacks, such as interchangeable lenses and other accessories that give photographers greater control and flexibility. However, for a beginner, the point-and-shoot camera is a fine choice. It is easy to use, renders good results and is extremely affordable.
Some basic camera terms will come in handy. Although most cameras now automatically handle focus, aperture and shutter function, having a basic knowledge of what these words mean can be beneficial.
Aperture – The typically adjustable opening in a camera that limits the amount of light passing through a lens or mirror.
Focus – An apparatus used to adjust the focal length of an optical system to make an image sharp and clear.
Shutter – A camera device that controls the duration of a photographic exposure by opening and closing. It allows light coming through the lens to expose the film.
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F R A M I N G , C O M P O S I T I O N
Framing and composition are fundamental photography concepts. Great photographs, no matter what the subject, are similar in that there is a center of interest that attracts and holds the eye. The frame is pleasingly filled and the different parts of the composition are balanced.
Divide your picture into thirds
These two concepts aren’t as difficult to master as you might think. You can practice with or without film in your camera. Look through your viewfinder, taking time to carefully examine the entire scene. Look at the corners, along the sides, and at the top and bottom of the frame. Now, mentally divide the scene before you into thirds. Where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect, place your most important or interesting information. This Rule of Thirds is a successful, time-tested way of composing quality pictures. If you experiment with this method, you’ll soon see an improvement in your photos.