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Intro to Digital Photography
by Michael Kitada ©2010
Intro To Digital Photography
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All photographs and text copyright 2010 Michael Kitada Photography and Take Better Photos Now!
Intro To Digital Photography
Table of Contents
Introduction Chapter One - Learning to see a) your eyes b) a few basic technical principals c) creating a routine Chapter Two - 3 Building Blocks of a Great Photograph Light, Composition and Moments Chapter Three – Light a) Seeing the different directions of light b ) Quality of Light c) Open shade d) The Cloudy Day e) Found Light Portrait f) Review & Self-assignment Chapter Four - Composition a) Rule of Thirds b) Landscape Rule c) Focus
Intro To Digital Photography d) Depth of Field (DOF) e) Repetition g) Breaking the Rules Chapter Five .Capturing Moments a) Moments in portraits b) Events & Everyday stuff c) Anticipation d) Action & Anticipation Chapter Six .Storing & Uploading Your Images PAGE 4 .Photographing People Chapter Seven .
As the years went by. my parents always handed me the family camera to shoot photos that would document our family vacations and events. My future father-in-law would hand me the camera and tell me to "shoot away. So much so.Intro To Digital Photography Introduction I love photography! When I was a kid. for my 19th birthday. but at times I made magic." Finally. Sometimes. my future wife gave me my first SLR. they were horrible images that couldn't be deciphered by anyone in the family. I was hooked. PAGE 5 . I became the photographer at my girlfriend's home. that I changed my major in college from music to photography. I loved it. too.
In the end. "Be inspired. too. I have been able to make a living doing something I truly love and I look forward to sharing my passion with you. So. During this time." Me. I know that you will take better photos and come to love this process. I have been fortunate and blessed. and my sisters Diane and Kim 1968 PAGE 6 . I have shot everything from the Academy Awards to all the major sporting events to natural disasters. I created Intro to Digital Photography to help you see. Come with me as I pass along some of my knowledge. think and shoot like a professional and to help you squeeze the most enjoyment out of your photographic experience.Intro To Digital Photography I have spent the next 20+ years as a photojournalist traveling around the world making images and learning the INS and outs of photography.
A camera sees this and just records whatever it sees. if there is too much light coming from behind. We will revisit these ideas in some later chapters. PAGE 7 . our brains will help our eyes to see into the shadow areas. Try this: look at something where you are and notice how the light is hitting the object. A camera will just record a silhouette.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 1: Learning to See Our eyes and brain are so incredible that we need to point out a few things as we start our journey. There is a direction to the light and an intensity. For example. But. We don't really look at things the way a camera does. there's a quality to the light that you have never noticed. it's either harsh or soft. Also. You know. our brains compensate. for now let's move on. it's bright or dim.
an amateur or a seasoned professional.this determines how long light is allowed to enter onto the film or CCD through the lens (again. you just can't manipulate most of them as easily as a DSLR or a Digital Single Lens Reflex ( which is a fancy way to say a camera the e lens are changeable ). think of the CCD as the digital equivalent of film). Let's see if I can make this a bit clearer. like 1/250 of a second while the opening in the lens might only be open a little bit or f/16. Let's begin. it will help you whether you are a novice. This is called the f/stop. PAGE 8 . So. The lens has an opening that can be adjusted.Intro To Digital Photography A Few Basic Technical Principals We do need to go over a few basic technical principals that will help you decipher some techniques and terms that we will be discussing. the shutter opens very quickly. this is called the shutter. B) f/stop . Read through this section. The camera determines how long a little door in the camera should open. First there are two variables that determine how cameras expose an image onto your CCD or in the old days film.This determines how much light can enter through the lens when the shutter opens. A) Shutter speed . Get it a bit more? Point-and-shoot cameras have shutters and f/stops. it makes the hole larger and smaller. But it will be good to know these terms and what they do. These two mechanisms allow for the manipulation of light exposure and a few other things that we will touch on later in the book.
chances are mistakes can and will be made. Learn. PAGE 9 . a camera can be a very technically daunting piece of machinery. Face recognition software? What? Are you kidding me? All that adds up to a lot of chances to mess things up.Intro To Digital Photography Creating A Routine I need to teach you a routine that will help you to have a higher success rate for your photography. I still do this every time I pick up my camera and I know that other successful photographers that I look up to have their version of something I call the routine. All high-tech or even the latest point-and-shoot models have crazy space-age technology. this technique and I guarantee that you will make a lot less mistakes and miss far fewer photo opportunities. Let’s face it. The more complex something is. A routine helps us silly humans to drastically reduce the number of mistakes that we can make as we use a camera.
No power means camera no work. no batteries means no photos. unless you are a great sketch artist. and I mean every time you pick up your camera.Intro To Digital Photography The Routine 1. Are they old? How long ago did you charge or change them? The smartest thing you can do is to always carry extras. No pictures! So. Batteries Every time. you better bring extras. check the batteries. Remember. Buy your model's battery and charge them both. No batteries means no power. Target or WalMart probably carries the generic version of your battery for cheap. carry extras! PAGE 10 .
a wonder of technology! You may have a Compact Flash. Save yourself all the embarrassment and buy an extra card. To review: Buy another media card and make sure that one is always empty and available (for the Elvis photo). Media Cards Huh? You know. No moving parts. or other proprietary media like Memory Sticks that only work with a specific brand of camera. Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster all show up in front of you and your card is full? The National Enquirer will not be interested in your sketch (see no batteries above). one is not enough. It will be just another story to tell your kids about the one that got away. Secure Digital (SD). PAGE 11 .Intro To Digital Photography 2. the thing your camera writes the information on? It once was film but that just makes me sound old. Let me repeat that for emphasis. one is not enough! What happens when Elvis. They are very reasonable and available just about anywhere. Whichever your camera uses.
PAGE 12 . That can be good and bad. which is not a good thing.Intro To Digital Photography 3. A lot of you are wondering what? That's okay at this point. Indoors? 800-1600 will do. here's an easy rule of thumb for setting your ISO. Don't worry. you want a camera that allows you to manipulate as many settings as possible to help you learn and grow. Outdoors? ISO 200-400 will be great. Some of you will have point-and-shoot models that will set it for you. you need to know that it tells you how much light needs to be allowed into the camera to make a correct exposure. Some cameras will not let you adjust the ISO setting. Realistically. Which brings us to our next point. For now. Automatic and Program modes are fine at first. but then Manual mode is a great way to evolve as a photographer. ISO Check your ISO setting (we will cover what this is in a later chapter).
People a lot smarter than you or I spent years on manufacturing settings that will do most of the hard work for us. for now. Automation is good-wait isn't that what they always say before the robots and computers take over and start doing very bad things? Well. Now I can't give you a college degree. unless your camera looks like Robocop. that they do almost all the thinking for us. I think. it should be okay. let's trust our camera and set it to automatic or program. So. Almost! And that’s where most beginning photographers get into trouble. but I can show you how to start thinking and seeing like a photographer. Automatic is good.Intro To Digital Photography 4. I'm going to show you how to tell your camera what to do in situations where it gets fooled (covered in future chapters). let's trust our cameras until we get to the next level. Let's get back to our topic. That's our goal. For now. PAGE 13 . Most cameras are so good now.
But really concentrate on learning the steps and you will find that things will be easier. Or anything else that might take away from the main thing that you intended your viewers to see. They don't see the branch jutting out for their subject's head. Do this routine (all of it) every time and I guarantee that you will begin to make fewer and fewer mistakes. Most get tunnel vision and only notice the main subject. Look through the viewfinder or at the LCD in "live view" mode ( when it looks like a tv monitor). Border Patrol Don't worry. nothing about fences. PAGE 14 . I want you to to look and see everything. Before you press the shutter. Why? Because you are looking for distracting elements in e background that most beginning photographers miss. trees. Well. For this technique. I want you to start at the top left hand corner and look along the perimeter or border. check for poles. sticks. branches even other people tahat might take away from the person or thing that you are photographing. just another time-tested technique to ensure better pictures. maybe just the first one.Intro To Digital Photography 5. Arizona or immigration. get it? Move along the top and down the right side. your teeth will become whiter and you will lose that last stubborn 20 pounds. So. down he bottom and back up the left side back to where we started.
you will be aware of what is in the viewfinder and ultimately you will make better photos. "always. Lastly. PAGE 15 . but you will find that you will make far fewer mistakes than without a set routine." a bit too liberally. You always have the correct settings to make photos.Intro To Digital Photography Your camera will always have power. I might be using the word. Now let's start learning to see and think like a professional photographer! REVIEW Be able to recite the Routine and demonstrate each of the five steps. You will always have room on your media card to make another important photo.
We aspire to make an image that people will want to look at.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 2 THE 3 BUILDING BLOCKS OF A GREAT PHOTO I have a theory/philosophy about photography that I have formulated over the years and it has weathered the test of time. you need to have some basic foundational supports that will be inherent in almost every great photograph. That's really what we are all shooting for when we press the shutter. If you want to have interesting photographs that others will want to look at. no one visits. PAGE 16 . No one calls. Otherwise. sitting in a shoebox in the closet or in a dark and remote corner of our hard drive. it's a lonely life for boring photos. our photos are going to be awfully lonely.
gathering dust! PAGE 17 .Intro To Digital Photography Here is the formula I call the 3 building blocks of a great photo... shoebox! This is where most boring photos end up. it's probably an okay image that your friends will be polite about to you when they view it and mumble something like.in a box. 1 of 3? Remember the slide shows that your Uncle Ed showed every time you went to visit? You get the idea. Only have 2 of the 3? Well. wow! You have a photograph that everyone likes and wants to look at over and over and they remember it. 1) Light 2) Composition 3) A Moment ( that defines the event ) If you have all of these contained in your image. "oh that's nice." What they really mean is let's move on to dessert or something else besides these photos.
take a look around you. or from the front or back? PAGE 18 . Again your eyes and brain are so sophisticated and better than any camera ever made. we take this miracle of sight for granted and we fail to truly see light. Unfortunately. What does this mean? Well. The sun. a lamp. How it falls on your subject and how you as the photographer recognize and use it. The light is falling on some object and allowing our receptors in our eyes to see the object. Is this light coming from the side. will go a long way to determine if you've just made a great photo or another boring vacation photo. or your computer are all illuminating something.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 3 Light It is the component most needed to even create a photograph.
I read a great article on practice and how great people practice more than your average person.Intro To Digital Photography Is the light bright or barely there? Is it harsh like from a flash nor the sun at noon? Or is it soft like on a cloudy day? Learning to see and recognize this is the first component of a great photograph. That helps them to become great. Let's try a simple set-up to help us see the light. better than the average person who doesn’t put the time in to get better. PAGE 19 .
PAGE 20 . It can also be revered to as open shade which is a bit more descriptive. It can be found anywhere that direct light is not hitting a subject. this is very important. there is always and I mean always a direction to the light! It has to be coming from some direction. Have the subject placed so they are lit by the ambient light falling in the room. But. It is indirect light falling on a subject.Intro To Digital Photography Grab a friend or a stuffed toy. Ambient light is an important phrase to learn. It is very flattering light for people especially. Don't have your subject so close to the window that direct sunlight falls on it. It will be helpful if there's only one window in the room like a living room. Set them or it on a chair by a window that is facing north. in the shade of a building is ambient light. this is important too. For example. I will refer to this term over and over so familiarize yourself with it.
This type of lighting hides wrinkles and is the friend of everyone over the age of 30! Remember that when you want to photograph someone a bit older and you will be there friend for life! PAGE 21 . But don't get too close or you will cast a shadow onto your subject. It's not the most dramatic type of lighting but it is usually pretty flattering for most subjects.Intro To Digital Photography Now look at your subject with you in-between the window and the subject. should cast few shadows on your subject. becoming an eclipse of the sun! This light is called frontal light and depending on the intensity and time of day.
PAGE 22 . It does accentuate wrinkles so be careful! Notice how this light sculpts each of the subjects? This is very flattering light for most subjects.Intro To Digital Photography Now stand at a 90 degree angle to the window and the subject. This is called side lighting and is normally very complimentary lighting.
the camera sees the bright light and assumes that is the dominate mass in the frame and exposes for it. The ability to recognize a situation like this. Our cameras see the window and assume that everything is great. go stand with the subject between you and the window. Problem is.Intro To Digital Photography Finally. A silhouette! Here’s a great example of how our eyes and brains don’t work like our cameras. Lots of light and we can see our subject fine. a silhouette! Most photographers run into this problem all the time. It will make you a better photographer. The on-board computer lets in less light and voila. PAGE 23 . separates the beginners from the serious-minded photographers. Practice recognizing these three main types of lighting scenarios.
This is probably one of the most committed offenses against families and photography. your camera is just a machine. Thus. silhouette. Your camera sees the bright light in the background and underexposes your subjects and again. You are its' master and now that you are beginning to understand light. the subjects will be darker and turned into silhouettes. It can only do so much. Remember. if the brightest thing is the background. What we need to do.Intro To Digital Photography Here's another normal scenario… you set your family/friends under a tree and snap away. you can avoid most of the common pitfalls of amateur photographers. PAGE 24 . is to learn to see these situations and identify the potential problems and overcome them. Why does his happen? Let’s try and explain this again. Your camera is calibrated to turn the brightest thing in the viewfinder into 18% gray.
A!!nd the incorrectly exposed photo again.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s the image correctly exposed. PAGE 25 .
!Side lighting Notice the shadow on the subject’s right side of her face (camera-left). the light is coming from camera-right.Intro To Digital Photography !Front lighting The light is coming from directly behind the camera. so be careful if you don’t want to show your subject’s wrinkles! PAGE 26 . be careful that your shadow doesn’t fall on your subject. It’s actually a large bank of windows with ambient light illuminating a large wall across from the windows. It is a normally a very flattering type of light to photograph any subject. This type of lighting is great for showing the contours of your subject. So. If the light source is directly behind you.
The subject is standing in front of a gray wall with the light coming from camera-right.Intro To Digital Photography Here's another example of side lighting: This frame has the same lighting set-up as the previous image. ! PAGE 27 .
not so great if you want to identify your friends and family. recognizing this lighting situation is crucial to seeing light and understanding what it does in various situations. The next frame is properly exposed for the subject and not the background. our camera adjusts for the background and our subject is silhouetted! Great for the witness protection program.Intro To Digital Photography And our last example is of backlighting. ! Our subject is not illuminated as strongly or as brightly as the background. Just like our assignment. PAGE 28 . So.
*Hint. Learn to see the light. Identifying light is key to creating impactful images. look at the shadow on the middle girl’s face and at the smallest boy's red shirt under his arm. Here are a few examples: PAGE 29 .) ! Learning to really see light is one of the most important skills that you will need as a photographer. Train your eyes to start looking at the light and how it falls on your potential subjects. See if you can identify where the light is coming from in these next examples: Look at how the smallest child’s face is illuminated as he tilts his head back and the other two kids have shadows on their faces as they have their faces tilted towards the camera.Intro To Digital Photography Learning to see Light (cont.
! *Here’s a quick tip that photographer’s use to deconstruct the light in a photo. look at the shadow on the middle girl’s face. soft box or a beauty dish in the models' irises. The light is coming from camera-left (there’s a shadow on the left side of her face).Intro To Digital Photography For this portrait. Take a peek at any fashion magazine and you will see the photographer’s umbrellas. *Hint. PAGE 30 . real close. I placed the girls against a door with a large window to their right and told them to get close. See the bright highlight in each of the girl’s eyes? That shows the large window is on their right side or camera-left which is how I will refer to directions throughout the book. Our eyes reflect the light source in the iris.
! *Quick history lesson. all of the patrons are silhouettes. The Orsay was once a railway station that was built at the turn of the century and is home to an extensive collection of impressionist masterpieces including a selfportrait of Van Gogh. Thus. ! PAGE 31 .Intro To Digital Photography Another example: The light is coming from outside the room through the large clock on the wall of the café inside the Musee d’Orsay.
Intro To Digital Photography One more…look carefully at the shadows cast by the subjects. See the shadow behind the subjects? Also. I was across the road up on a hillside. These kids have the light falling directly on their faces. two fingers and then three fingers. to create a nice front light image. PAGE 32 . too far away to yell. I told my kids to jump on the count of three. They jumped in unison and I had my memory. practice looking at how light falls on your subjects. the face of the mountains and the front of the little stonewall. !See how there are no shadows on the wall (other than shadows of the kids)? This is just a quick portrait as we stopped to stretch our legs and to see the Yosemite Valley. I put up one finger. it is falling on the front of the clouds. So. Again.
as it broke through the clouds and illuminated the Eiffel Tower. All of this from the top of a bus speeding down the street as three college girls on college break found out my wife and I were from the O. !* Tip: My strategy when I travel is to take a tour of the city and see all the sites from a bus or tram. The Eiffel Tower is backlit with the sun being obscured by the clouds. Then. you will begin to be able to capture it. backlighting. in this image we have.Intro To Digital Photography This image was taken from the top of an open-air tour bus in Paris. This way I see everything.C. Start to look. really look at the light that is falling and illuminating everything around you. No wasted time! The light was spectacular. but only go to what looks interesting. So. silhouette and drama from the shafts of sunlight streaming through the clouds. I can plan out the rest of my trip and go back to what looks interesting. PAGE 33 . Once you start to recognize the light. (just like on television)! I laughed and shot this photo over their shoulders as the sun broke through the clouds.
I was waiting for a potential client and I looked at the sky. Dramatic lighting makes for dramatic images.” which I use all the time. “Hipstamatic. The effect is from an application called. Look around and “see” the light! PAGE 34 . I couldn’t believe the beauty of the light as it hit the clouds.Intro To Digital Photography This was shot with the camera in my phone in a parking lot.
soft. bright and dim. This is an example of soft and dim light as the sun sets. Notice how you can look at the sunset longer than at high noon? It’s the light rays passing through all of our pollution. it also has quality. The brightness of the sun is muted as the light passes through the various layers of dust and clouds in the atmosphere. Recognize the difference and you will start to capture light in different and dramatic ways. Harsh.Intro To Digital Photography Quality of Light Light does not just have direction. PAGE 35 .
In the above photo. It is very flattering to the subjects and makes for great portraits. but on people. The light is very soft and due to the time of day it is very dim. Soft light is usually the best for photographing people. PAGE 36 .Intro To Digital Photography Here’s another example of soft lighting. Soft and either dim or bright. light is coming from camera right almost sideways. Utilize this type of lighting whenever possible to take your portraits. we just turned the camera around from the pier and now we have the same lighting scheme. Essentially. too.
Remember to think. It is extremely flattering in portraits. lighting quality and direction for the best possible portraits! PAGE 37 . See how the light is soft and dim and pleasing to our subject? One last thing. In this image the light is coming from above the subject. but it is in a type of lighting that I will refer to as ambient light or open shade. There’s a nice soft shadow on her right side of her face. Open shade is one of the most pleasing lighting situations for portraits of people. Ambient light occurs where no direct light is falling on our subject. see the direction of the light? It’s always good to identify where your light source is coming from. Here is an example of soft light.Intro To Digital Photography Let’s look at another example.
It starts to affect our subjects and their ability to look at the camera. and our subjects are outside in the direct light. So. This brings us to a good rule of thumb to remember: ***The smaller the light source. We have bright light.Intro To Digital Photography Now we come to our example of bright light. the harsher the light. Next is harsh light. Also. Sunny day. It is usually bright. too. PAGE 38 . don’t be thrown off by the fact that it’s bright. notice the very defined and harsh shadows on the subjects’ face.
just like the snowflakes my son is trying to catch! PAGE 39 .Intro To Digital Photography For example. There aren’t any well-defined shadows and the light is soft and beautiful. Cloudy days are the photographer’s friend! Here’s an example: A snowy. the sun in the sky is a tiny little orb that produces harsh light and shadows. cloudy day with diffused light. Here the light is coming from above. Put some clouds in front of it and you have a nice diffused and soft light with less defined shadows. Just remember that the light still has a direction to it and all of the rules about light still are in place.
you will get one frame steady and in-focus out of the three images. PAGE 40 . it was night). The light on the building helps to contrast against the deep color of the sky. Whenever possible. Normally. and holding as still as possible. try to photograph your subject in different light or at different times of the day. ! It was just after sunset and I didn’t have time to break out my tripod. so I braced myself. But.Intro To Digital Photography This is a hand-held image of Notre Dame. It's a combo. you can also argue that the light on the buildings is harsh. try this… shoot three frames after exhaling slowly. Especially. when you are traveling. I’ve been able to achieve some great in-focus images at very slow shutter speeds using this technique when a tripod wasn’t handy. took a deep breath and squeezed the shutter slowly and firmly. *Here’s a tip: If you have a motor drive or power winder on your camera. It was very dark ( duh. Not everything slips neatly into a category. **Here’s another one of my tips. This an example of harsh but dim lighting. made just after sundown.
Intro To Digital Photography
This is the Notre Dame cathedral about an hour before the previous photograph. It’s the same scene, just different lighting. Sometimes you get really really lucky.
It seems that God favors the prepared. Think and look. You might be rewarded well.
Intro To Digital Photography
Okay, you are thinking, “I could make beautiful photos if I were in Paris.” Well, my daughter and I were talking and she was showing me photos she took on her little point-and-shoot camera when I saw the light streaming through the window and onto our wall. She’s been trained well, over the years, to pose at a moment's notice for her crazy photographer father, so, she leaned up against the wall and point-andshoot heaven! Beautiful light and a beautiful portrait to boot!
!See, beautiful light doesn’t just exist in Paris, it is all around us, even inside your own home. This is an example of bright light. It was taken near sunset so it isn't harsh. Notice how even people with blue eyes can tolerate the sun late in the day? Remember, it's due to the sun traveling further through the atmosphere and through more dirt and smog, so the light is less intense and harsh.
Intro To Digital Photography
Open Shade Let's review Open Shade again.
It really is a photographer’s best friend. Let’s review. Open shade can exist anywhere indirect or ambient light/shade does. For example, under overhangs, patios, behind large structures -- wherever the direct light of the sun is blocked. In this example, a large building provided open shade for this portrait. Remember that while the light may be soft and diffused, it still has directionality. It has to be coming from somewhere. The light is this image is coming from above, camera right. See the slight shadow under the jaw line? The rest of our subject’s face is illuminated with soft beautiful light.
Remember that even though you are in a lighting situation that is optimal. See the soft quality of light and the lack of strong or harsh shadows. there will still be a direction to the light.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s another example of ambient lighting. Remember that and use it to your advantage and you will make great photographs. PAGE 44 .
In the above image. Inspect the highlights in the eyes and any shadows that might giveaway the direction of the light. slightly camera right. !Look in the highlights in the eyes of the subject. remember to look at the eyes. so the light source is usually seen there.Intro To Digital Photography Wait! I can't tell where the light is coming from? Just like the portrait of the three girls. They are very reflective. and there is a slight shadow on the left side of the nose. The light is coming mostly from directly in front of the subject. the light source covers most of the subject's eyes. PAGE 45 .
It was raining intermittently. the harsher the light. Since you can move around with your subject and not have to worry so much about the lighting because it stays so constant. For example. but the light was perfect for faces. Remember it mimics open shade. Again: “The smaller the light source. We stood at the top of Lombard Street (the crazy crooked street) and I told them to have fun! The light is even and the shadows are very soft which makes for a perfect portrait! PAGE 46 . but allows greater movement. Here’s an image made on a cloudy day.Intro To Digital Photography The Cloudy Day I mentioned cloudy day earlier when I talked about snow.” Place clouds in between the sun and the earth and you achieve a huge light source and very soft even lighting. here’s a couple on an engagement shoot in San Francisco (that’s Alcatraz Island in the background).
It usually combines direct light and shadows for a dramatic and stylized image. This photograph was created by light from a sunset shining through a window blind against a plain wall. It takes practice. but the results make it worthwhile! PAGE 47 . Look for this type of lighting where sunlight is shining through windows or openings for dramatic portraits.Intro To Digital Photography The Found Light Portrait We enter another type of portrait. I call it the found light portrait.
Intro To Digital Photography Here’s another example: In this image the light is coming through a door and hitting a wall in an alley. she only lasted for a bit. PAGE 48 . Remember to check back at different times of the day. creating interesting and dramatic shadows that compliment the overall look of the image and the light on the subject. It’s just a dirty and smelly alley behind some nice stores. but it was worth it. Lighting and dramatic shadows can create all of that. Props to my model for sitting in the unknown smell and looking cool. you never know when a seemingly boring situation can be turned into something wonderful. The light in this image only lasted a few minutes and then it was just another smelly alley again.
• The Cloudy Day • Found light portraits PAGE 49 . the harsher the shadows & the larger the light source the softer the shadows. bright or soft) • Open shade / Ambient light is flattering for portraits • The smaller the light source. dim.Intro To Digital Photography Review • Learn to see and identify light • Directionality of light / Where's it coming from? • Quality of light (harsh.
side or backlight situation. so shoot a lot. Then go look for some dramatic light and make a found light portrait. The ambient light in this photo is very soft and almost shadow-less. PAGE 50 . Is the light pleasing? Does it dominate the image or support your subject? Take a few more frames and change your position and try it in a vertical and horizontal mode for variation. Look at the image on the back of your camera. Look before you press the shutter. Identify the direction of the light and see if it is a front. then fire away and make some great images. Place your subject (an inanimate object or a friend) in some ambient light and look at how it falls on them/it.Intro To Digital Photography Self-assignment Look for open shade and identify which direction the light is coming. Then look through the viewfinder or the LCD in live view and shoot a frame. too. Really look at your image before and after pressing the shutter. Shooting digitally is inexpensive.
Therefore. we want to learn the best areas to place our subjects. The first rule of composition is the Rule of Thirds. Place your subject on these lines and especially where they connect.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 4 !Composition Composition is simply where the photographer places subjects. This should be an ah-ha moment for a lot of you. ***This is probably the single most important rule/tip of this entire book. A viewer’s eyes naturally go to these areas. That is why some photos are so compelling and others are so boring. so learn it well. horizons and any other elements within the frame of the photograph. PAGE 51 . We need to carve up the canvas of the frame/viewfinder into thirds. both horizontally and vertically. Our eyes tend to look at certain areas inside an image.
! Here’s another example: Do your subjects have to be in exactly the areas where the lines connect? No? Close is good enough. It really is the difference between a memorable image and something you forget as soon as you look away.Intro To Digital Photography Check out any images you see and most do not utilize this basic rule. Your eye sees the point of Half Dome and follows the curve of the mountain down to the silhouetted figures who are near the intersection of the lower horizontal and the right vertical lines. Voila! A visually interesting image that helps the viewer to see. PAGE 52 . by having a strong compositional make-up that leads the eyes to the most important part of the image.
People wait decades to score tickets to the NASCAR races. creating an interesting and compelling image. This was a vacation photo taken at the Bristol Speedway in Tennessee. The viewer’s eye is lead directly the subjects. We were able to go down on the track and mess around at the finish line. so my in-laws booked us on a tour that was very cool.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s another example with the faces of the subjects all on the top horizontal third and the faces of the two outside subjects in the areas of convergence. PAGE 53 .
the longer they will look at your image. PAGE 54 .Intro To Digital Photography Here’s a view from inside the Arc de Triumphe in Paris. Good composition keeps the viewers eyes occupied which keeps them looking at your image longer. Also. The longer you can engage your viewer. The the spiral is near the upper right area of convergence and draws the viewers eyes to that space. That is the goal of every photograph. the staircase spirals down leading the viewers eye down the railing and then back up again to the top.
Understand how that works? I’ve composed the image to draw your eye to those two areas in the photograph. Tennessee.Intro To Digital Photography Back to the racetrack in Bristol. most photographers would place the boy in the dead-center which leads us nowhere. Composition is so critical to photography. yet a lot of photographers just don’t understand it and don’t practice it enough. PAGE 55 . Unfortunately. Good composition leads to great lasting images. See how your eye is drawn to him? Then you might look at the track as it leads away from him to the upper left area of convergence. I’ve placed my subject in the lower right area of convergence.
symmetry is visually unappealing to the eye. The viewers’ eye is drawn first to the pyramid and then to the sky. which accentuates our sky and the wonderful clouds. but that is later. In cases where you want to really emphasize either sky or land make the fraction even larger. There are exceptions. That is visually unappealing. Now look at this example where the horizon is very low in the frame. just place the horizon on the 1/3rd or 2/3rds line. It emphasizes either the sky or the land. PAGE 56 . Most of the time.Intro To Digital Photography This is the Rule for Landscapes Instead of carving the canvas into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The most important thing is to not place the horizon anywhere near the middle.
this is an example of sidelight (see the moon)? I would say that is a great example of camera-right light. The sunlight was still hitting the clouds on the right of the image. also. 7/8ths composition rule. I composed the image with the moon and the ridge at the very bottom of the frame to accentuate the sky and to place the blackness of the mountain at the bottom for its weight. It was glorious! I stopped on the side of the rode and braced my camera on top of the roof of my car. The moon is near the convergence of the lower left and I’d say I used the 1/8 vs. Oh. PAGE 57 .Intro To Digital Photography Yosemite at sunset I was in Yosemite for a wedding and was headed to a restaurant for dinner when I saw the moon start to rise above the ridge.
Always stop and shoot. you never know when you will get another chance to photograph a scene like this.Intro To Digital Photography The textures of the ridge and the lighting made for an image that I thought stirred wildness in my heart. here’s an example of half and half with the horizon in the middle. So much stronger of an image with the sky emphasized. PAGE 58 . Just to be clear. There’s nothing for the viewer to look at after the initial scan.
in a vertical selection. Lucky I did. I have placed the main buildings in the lower left area of convergence and placed the horizon about 1/5th of the way up the frame to emphasize the sky. since I was never able to make it to the church. Let’s look at the composition. The door was locked and I put one of my tips into action.Intro To Digital Photography Here is one more version. PAGE 59 . I spotted this view of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica through a window in the Louvre. always shoot now and don’t wait. so these photos were the best and only ones I was able to take.
my camera focuses somewhere else. “When I try to put my subject in an area of convergence. Let’s look at how to overcome our camera’s auto focus and make it work for us. a lot of my students ask. right? It does take practice. In the photo below. The viewer looks at the main subject then the point and back and forth. so shoot a lot and be patient. Simple. At this point.” Great point. PAGE 60 . where I placed the subject in the lower right area of convergence and also put Half Dome’s point near the upper left area of convergence. overcoming the auto focus enables us to place the subjects head off center and not focus on the background.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s a similar composition.
Let’s take a look at that technique. Learning how to defeat the center focus function is a huge skill that is a definite “have to learn” must. PAGE 61 .Intro To Digital Photography Here’s a portrait that the subject is placed just off-center.
you need to realize that the camera’s focus is locked so you cannot move forward or backward or everything will be out of focus. When you lock it by pushing the shutter halfway. PAGE 62 . Press the shutter halfway and watch the boxes become active by changing color. it is frozen and will not move. So. What??? Imagine the zone of focus is a wall of glass. It moves back and forth depending on where the camera is pointed.Intro To Digital Photography Focus Wait! Are you having trouble placing the subject in an area of convergence and keeping the subject in focus? You need to learn to trick the camera into focusing on the subject that you want to control the composition of the image. Then press the shutter the rest of the way and voila! The subject you picked is in focus and in the correct area of composition. this takes practice to not press the shutter all the way and to not let go. Move the camera slightly to the left or right (still depressing the shutter halfway) and recompose to place the highlighted subject into an area of convergence. you can move the camera sideways. When you look inside the viewfinder of your DSLR or on the back of the LCD of your point-and-shoot you will see little boxes or circles that light up when you depress the shutter half way. Here’s how: You will need to practice this step a lot to be able to achieve this in the heat of the moment. just a bit and everything within the wall of focus (or glass) remains in focus. Also. Now here’s the trick to practice. Try this: Point your camera at a scene that contains a foreground. You can only move left or right now that the camera's focus is locked. Now trust me. when you freeze it. These are the "focus points" and usually turn from red-to-green or turn from clear-to-red when they are locked in on a subject. mid ground and a background.
we have our LCD without any highlighted boxes and we have not depressed the shutter.Intro To Digital Photography Got it? Probably not. PAGE 63 . but try the exercise below and you will see it is easier done than explained. With practice. Good Luck! Step One First. it will become easier and quicker each time.
A small box becomes highlighted on the LCD screen and shows us what the camera is focusing on. At this stage. we have a typical center-focused subject. which is the large letter K. Now comes the fun part! PAGE 64 .Intro To Digital Photography Step Two We have pushed the shutter halfway and we are holding it.
you can only move our camera slightly to the left or the right and still maintain focus. continue to hold the shutter halfway down (you will have to practice this and you will know it is still locked in since the box is still highlighted). See how we re-composed the letter K into the left vertical third? Important. So. If you move it forward or backward. PAGE 65 . the area that is locked into focus will move from the “zone of focus” and will ruin the shot. practice and remember only slight moves to re-compose.Intro To Digital Photography Step Three Re-compose to put the subject into an area of convergence.
With a Point-and-shoot it’s a little bit tougher to manipulate the depth of field.5 will result in a small or shallow depth of field and f/11 – f/32 will result in a large or broad depth of field. A shallow depth of field is accomplished with a small f stop and a large depth of field is accomplished with a large f/stop. you can manipulate this with the f/stops. Let’s look at some examples: PAGE 66 . With DSLR’s.Intro To Digital Photography Depth of Field and Focusing We need to cover a few things before we move on that will help make your photos even better. In layman’s terms it is how much focus exists in your photograph. Try this: Compose a photo of a person and place their head in the upper right convergence area. The hand will be more in focus than the photo inside. The best way is to increase the ISO to bring more light into the CCD and therefore increase the f/stop for a broad depth of field and lower the ISO for a smaller or shallower depth of field. Try it with a few variations like. For example f/2. With point-andshoot. there will be more light and a greater depth of field. this effect is a bit harder to achieve. maybe in the left vertical third (do this inside so there will be less light and a the result will be more pronounced). your hand closer and further away from your camera and you will see the differences in the depth of field. The resulting image is an out of focus hand and an in focus person’s face. but it can be done. more people. This is due to a larger f/stop and more depth of field. If you do this outside. The first is something called depth of field (DOF). A "shallow" depth of field refers to a limited zone of focus a "large" depth of field refers to a broad zone of focus within the frame.8 – f/4. You have just produced a shallow depth of field if you were inside. then put your hand into the frame. How large it is depends on your f/stops.
PAGE 67 . Large depth of field !With a large depth of field. the three subjects are in focus for a maximum depth of field effect.Intro To Digital Photography Shallow depth of field !Shallow depth of field with the far girl in focus and the other two out of focus. You can utilize this for larger groups of people to keep the maximum zone of focus from front-to-back.
The top of the clouds run through the top horizontal line and our horizon leaves a 1/5 land to 4/5ths sky ratio that we will learn more about later. That is what really matters! Sometimes rules are made to be broken or at least bent a bit. Learn the rules well. We want to engage our viewers as long as possible. The subject is in the center of our composition. !Composition drives how our viewers look at our images. but. PAGE 68 .Intro To Digital Photography Breaking the Rules Does every image you ever take have to be in one of these areas? NO! Rules were made to be broken. you probably will not know when to break them. use them and then bend them a bit. What matters is that we have a moving image of a young boy that captures a moment in time that is compelling. so a well-composed image causes our viewers to continue to look at and into the image. Have fun and make some great photos. look closer. right? Here’s an example that breaks the rules. but if you don’t learn them.
at least to yourself.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s another rule-breaker. but a visually interesting rule breaking photograph. Not your typical. One of the best things to remember is to be able to defend and articulate why you decided to place the subject in a different part of the frame. why you did what you did. PAGE 69 . After that. rule of thirds image. You as the artist need to explain. let the viewer decide if your effort was worthy. The main subject is the silhouetted people in the center of the frame and then the rays of sunlight behind them.
The bars draw attention to our subject and then the change in the repetition draws our viewers’ eye into the main subject. Also.Intro To Digital Photography Repetition Here is another compositional tool. called repetition. It calls attention to your subject by emphasizing it or by breaking a pattern to bring attention to it. the subject is placed in the upper right area of convergence. the red bars repetition is broken by the child’s face. PAGE 70 . In this example. too. Utilizing more than one tool helps our viewers to be drawn into what we the photographer wants.
The chairs create a nice pattern both horizontally and diagonally throughout the frame.Intro To Digital Photography Let’s look at another example. Simple. Repetition is a tough concept to grasp. Here’s a simple example of repetition with chairs. Right? PAGE 71 .
Henri CartierBresson. this is our holy grail! If a picture tells a thousand words. pictures are lifeless and posed.” and claimed that every scene contained this moment in time when all the elements best told the story. Keep practicing and looking for moments. Our goal is to capture moments that freeze an instant in time that informs. hopefully all at the same time. coined the phrase. PAGE 72 . ”The decisive moment.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 5 Moments Our last building block deals with what is happening in the frame the instant we press the shutter. Soon you will be making images capturing great moments all the time. Training your eye to capture these moments is a life-long goal. delights and or enlightens. what is your photo saying? Without the capturing of moments. As a visual storyteller. One of the fathers of photojournalism.
I got the moment and reminded her to keep shooting. The mom was taking a favorite toy and showing it to the baby to get him to smile. PAGE 73 . he started crying. We combine everything we have learned so far and with good lighting.Intro To Digital Photography Here we have a mom playing peek-a-boo with her son. composition and the moment. too. composition and a moment we are able to document a time in a family’s life with a great photo. Good light. Easy. when she took it away. right? Here’s a moment from the same shoot.
) PAGE 74 . Here’s my moment. “jump on anyone’s head who is in the pool. I backed off to keep my camera dry and waited for the games to begin. Oh BTW.Intro To Digital Photography My dogs play a rough game of. no dogs were harmed in the making of this moment. and as he took off. . Just not fun if you are in the pool first. I followed the yellow dog. I pressed my shutter.” which is fun to watch.
A very nice frame that freezes a moment in a family’s life . His favorite thing for a while was to be pulled around in his wagon. What about our moment? Mom is watching her baby and he is having the time of his life. The wagon is occupying the bottom horizontal third and the light is soft with pleasing soft shadows. Let us break down the image a bit: The subjects’ heads are in the convergence of the top horizontal and the two vertical lines. too (cloudy day). Isn’t that what photography is about? PAGE 75 . One day he wanted his mom to ride along and dad had his camera…the rest is a photograph that I will always treasure.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s an example of one of my favorite moments of my oldest son’s childhood.
That’s insider information that can help you capture that moment. but they also have experience of where to be to obtain the best shots. They might only be allowed to sit in one area. How to capture moments is an art in itself. Let’s take a look and learn a few tips about capturing moments. They are anticipating certain plays during the game. PAGE 76 . Insider knowledge can benefit your photography. Know your subject. If your child always throws his arms in the air when he gets to the top of the stairs and lets out a yell. Let’s get this part right so we can keep those images of our children and our friends in a tangible way. How do you photograph / capture a moment? You have to know a little about your subject.Intro To Digital Photography Capturing Moments Now isn’t capturing moments the main reason you bought a camera? Documenting the lives of your family is one of the most treasured memories that we possess. Ever watch a sport like basketball on television? All the photographers are sitting at the ends of the court.
Ask yourself. PAGE 77 . I was ready and was following him around when he suddenly spread his arms wide. “What’s the best photo that I could get. We were on a trip to Bristol. Nice capture dad! Some of the best photographers I have known always had that sixth sense about great moments. Tennessee and visited the racetrack.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s my example: My youngest is a ham. I always try to be ready for a great moment.” and “Where would I need to be to capture that?” Then get there and wait. We were able to stand in the winner’s circle and my son decided to act out his racing/winning fantasy. threw his head back and proclaimed that he was number one! Nice moment for the family vacation memory album.
your knowledge of the day gives you an edge on when to wait and be ready to press the shutter. we all know what happens after the cake is placed in front of the person of honor. In our culture. But. right? Wait for that moment and you will have captured the moment that encapsulates the entire event.Intro To Digital Photography How does that translate for you? How about a one-year-olds’ birthday party? It doesn’t really make sense for you to run around your child’s birthday party with a camera glued to your eye socket. This is the kind of planning and pre-thinking that will enable you to capture great moments. PAGE 78 . They smash that beautiful cake all over their faces.
To let the viewer peer so deeply into the soul of the subject. PAGE 79 . I want that to be your goal. A truthful moment that reveals something of the subject. it’s important to capture the essence of that subject. Otherwise. you end up with a posed and stiff looking image. we see a genuine smile from the subject. That is our goal.Intro To Digital Photography Capturing a Moment in a Portrait When shooting a portrait. Certain peoples believe that having their photograph taken. was akin to having a bit of their soul stolen. that a piece of them is stolen away. In this portrait.
To reveal something to the viewer. I talked to the subject about feeling like a model. She started skipping and feeling and looking like a model. The next image shows a truthful moment during a senior portrait session. PAGE 80 . The goal is the same.Intro To Digital Photography Same subject. A bit of her soul was revealed. different setting. To capture a bit of our subject’s soul.
we come to the next step in capturing moments. the shorter the delay. So. how do you capture moments if it takes forever for your camera to take a photo? Anticipation. it is price that dictates this feature.Intro To Digital Photography Anticipation Now that you are utilizing knowledge about your subject. we might miss it. PAGE 81 . One of the biggest complaints about point and shoot cameras is the time lag between the act of pushing the shutter and actually taking the photo. So. Anticipation. For example. Unfortunately. we can practice that by anticipating the actions of our subjects. take a chance and hope for great images and you will start to capture more. how about our old friend the birthday? The birthday boy starts to blow out the candles and? If we wait for a great moment. The more expensive your camera. Since we are learning to shoot a lot. We sometimes need to guess what our subject will do to capture the moment. We will revisit this topic when we talk about timing.
sometimes the action happens so fast that if you see it through the viewfinder or on the LCD.Intro To Digital Photography Action and Anticipation Let’s use an example of shooting tennis. The only thing left is the shadow. But when you look at the next frame… The ball is already long gone. How did that happen and how can you capture the ball being struck? Anticipation! PAGE 82 .” What does that mean? Well. you missed it. “If you see it. Look at our example: The ball is just about to be struck by the racket. that means when the shutter opens. There is a saying in sports photography and it goes like this. you probably missed the action.
It isn’t a natural skill. PAGE 83 . is will become second nature and you will be capturing all the elements in the same image. has to anticipate the ball being struck and push the shutter the moment before the ball gets there to really capture it being struck. you. it is something that you will definitely need to practice. A lot! Soon.Intro To Digital Photography The photographer. At first. All by anticipating. you will miss a lot.
PAGE 84 . Just anticipate and practice. practice and practice. the ball is gone. This tip works for just about any fast moving action.Intro To Digital Photography Look… here’s the ball being struck and …. In this photo.
Facebook alone is responsible for about a billion photos a month! Documenting our lives has become an obsession especially with the younger generation. the majority of your photos will contain people. Smart phones that capture photos and video are ubiquitous.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 6 People Photography Now. unless you live in a cave or are an extreme loner. Here’s a chapter dedicated to helping everyone take better people photos. some composition tips and also posing and props to help us all take better photos of people! PAGE 85 . I want to look again at the best types of lighting.
Intro To Digital Photography First off. See how cropping into the head of the subject places the eyes in the areas of convergence? It helps make our composition stronger and fills the frame more effectively. And in this example. By cropping into our subject’s the eyes !naturally are closer to the area of convergence as seen in this example below. Let’s take a look at posing and how it can help to take better photos. you can almost always improve your photos by getting closer and filling the frame with your subject. PAGE 86 . too.
PAGE 87 . Instead. turn them one way or the other. A bonus. It puts the hips and shoulders in a pleasing a manner and makes the hips look smaller.Intro To Digital Photography One of the most important tips in posing is to never let your subjects directly face the camera. since I don’t know any woman that wants her hips to look bigger. It makes peoples hips look larger and creates awkward poses.
Here’s another example.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s another tip. PAGE 88 . for a sliming effect. Have your subjects place their hands on their hips to make the illusion of slimming their hips since you don’t see where they end. It creates long lines and again hides where the hips start and end.
It works on reality shows. Here is our group of teenagers not knowing what to do and directly facing the camera.Intro To Digital Photography How about when you don’t know what to do? Wait. Things usually have a way of working out. let it work for you. PAGE 89 . My motto is to relax and wait for them to forget about you. Wait for them to start talking and then quickly forget about the camera and start acting natural and become much better subjects.
where we were on vacation and I wanted to photograph the kids against the huge redwood trees. After about a minute the boys started messing with their sister and I had my moment. this time in Tennessee at the Bristol Racetrack. PAGE 90 . but in real life.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s a similar situation. The kids wanted to see how steep the curve of the track was and I had my photo! Waiting and watching are as effective tools as some of the other techniques that I have been talking about. Another vacation.
Now I’ve learned to snap quickly and let her be herself! In this situation. Learn to wait and watch.Intro To Digital Photography Or just taking a photo of two sisters. Just let people be themselves and you will normally get more relaxed and more spontaneous image. we were photographing her sister and she jumped into the frame and looked at the camera for just a moment. photographically. PAGE 91 . The sister on the right has been a challenge for me. She usually gets very self-conscience whenever I pick up my camera around her. It was all I needed. the better image you will capture. Wait for their natural instincts to take over and they will usually do something worthy of being photographed. The less you pose most people.
PAGE 92 . Props help people take their mind off of the camera and get involved with whatever is on hand. Let’s look. The subject is a guitar player and wanted a few shots with her instrument. The guitar gave her something to focus on rather than just a straight photo of her. How about adults and camera shy people in general? That’s why props were invented! Most folks don’t look like Heidi Klum. Anything to distract them from the fact that you are pointing a camera at them. too! It can be a simple as handing the subject a flower or a book. It helps to forget and to focus on something else.Intro To Digital Photography Kids forgetting about the camera is one hurdle to overcome. The typical scenario is the photographer barks out an order for everyone to say cheese! Or smile! That’s where props come to the rescue. The result is a pleasing image that shows off her hobby and the subject. Be creative and enjoy the process.
It was part of a news story that won a Pulitzer Prize. included in almost every one of the categories is waiting. How can you do that? Learning to watch and wait is one way. you can start making great images of real life. Is it worth it to you? You bet. PAGE 93 . Take your camera and learn to make some images. Soon. For example.Intro To Digital Photography Patience If you noticed. you will need to anticipate action in everyday life as you make your photos. be used to you having a camera in hand. Instead of static images of people with fake smiles. Just like professionals anticipate great action in sports photography. Do you think it was worth it? This same photographer waited 30 minutes for a pedestrian to cross a bridge so she could accomplish the perfect composition in a travel photo. I have a friend who waited for two hours to make an image of a woman hurrying along a sidewalk framed through the spokes of a passing bicycle. Great photographers all have their stories about how they waited for their fantastic photo. everyone will forget about the camera or better yet. you will create photos that capture life. Waiting is part of the territory for photographers. Was that worth it? It is to the photographer and maybe to every viewer of that photograph. They will start acting normal and if you have the patience. you head out to a BBQ with friends. What’s going to happen? Probably a bunch of people will protest that you can’t take any photos of them. Just hang around and watch.
That way you will always know where to start and what to do. Sometimes you have to really work. I waited about 30 seconds for this image to materialize. They never deviate from their plan. some teams are famous for scripting out the first 15 plays. Sometimes it is so easy. I told them to walk up this pathway and talk and do whatever felt natural. You can script out the first 10 poses that you want and then start to let loose. it’s worth it. In football.Intro To Digital Photography I did this session with a couple in San Francisco. Either way. You will look confident and that breeds confidence in your subjects. too! PAGE 94 . Take a little time and plan out your sessions.
PAGE 95 . With the eyes at different levels the viewer is lead around the image. This technique is especially important with groups of people. You know. You can even use books. This accomplishes visual contrast and makes our images look more complex than a !straight line of people with their eyes at the same height. The eyes need to be at different levels. rocks or anything else handy to accomplish this by having your subjects stand on them. when they try to track down a telephone call they use different points to finally figure out where the call is coming from? In this image the triangulation comes from the eyes and the viewer looks from eye to eye to eye. Odd numbers work best for small groups. A bit like triangulation. we need to arrange our odd numbered groups with the eyes at different heights. Also. Our viewers’ eyes are drawn to odd numbers so use that to your advantage. it keeps them visually occupied within the image.Intro To Digital Photography What about small groups of people? Here’s another great insider secret. The result is a visually interesting image that keeps the viewers engaged within the image looking at the different eyes at the various levels. Three is better than four and five is better than six.
Intro To Digital Photography
What time of day should I shoot to get the best results? Have you ever seen a National Geographic magazine? Great photography. These photographers spend months shooting thousands of images to see only a few of their images ever published in the magazine. And 99.99% of their images are shot in early morning light or late evening light. Why? Because that’s when the light is beautiful! It’s as easy as that. Sunlight is beautiful when it goes through our atmosphere from the side. It has to go through more of the yucky smog and dust to get to us when it’s early or late and voila! Beautiful gorgeous light, and thus, beautiful gorgeous photographs taken in that light. This image was taken near sunset.
What about when the event happens at different times of the day? Well, short of bribing all team sports to play games at dusk and dawn, you will be stuck photographing at less the optimal times. Try to use the less than optimal light to your advantage.
Intro To Digital Photography
For example, this image was shot around sunset as the light streamed almost horizontally.
Late afternoon light is pleasing to most faces and creates great sidelight. Utilize the awesome shadows that this type of lighting creates, too. *People portraits are the majority of the images that people shoot.
Intro To Digital Photography
Let’s review again lighting for people. Open shade / ambient light is one of our best friends for photographing people and making them look their absolute best.
but remember to look for the direction to create great pop in your images. Here the light is coming from camera right. Making beautiful portraits is so much easier when the components are all in place.Intro To Digital Photography Look for this light anywhere the direct light isn’t. Look for it and practice putting your subjects in this fine light and making better photos. Great light is one of our 3 main building blocks and open shade is so flattering that it almost always makes people look good. PAGE 99 . See the slight shadow under the subject’s nose? See the light and put your subjects in the right light to make beautiful portraits.
The found light portrait. our subject is lit with direct afternoon sunlight that is creating some dramatic shadows above her head.Intro To Digital Photography Found light portraits Let’s review another great light source. This is a bit more advanced since the photographer has to be very careful to place the subject in an area that the light will still be flattering. In the above example. Direct light can make dramatic lighting usually accompanied with great shadows. notice the shadow under her nose. PAGE 100 .
Intro To Digital Photography PAGE 101 .
PAGE 102 . It really makes her stand out and pop against a neutral background.Intro To Digital Photography Here’s our last example before we move on. A simple shaft of light. illuminating a brick wall makes a perfect dramatic lighting scheme for our subject.
Intro To Digital Photography To review: Look for ambient light / open shade but remember to identify the direction of the light and also look for dramatic light and shadows to place your subjects into to create drama and allow your subjects to stand out. Negative space If we keep placing our subjects in areas of convergence it can leave a lot of empty space on our photographic canvas. This we can use to balance off the fact that we need to place our subjects off-center. Composition A couple of compositional tips to go over that will add to your skill set to help you make take better photos. PAGE 103 .
Intro To Digital Photography Take a look: The empty or negative space is utilized to balance the subjects’ placement within the frame. the leaf. Here’s a great example that places our subject. It’s all in your hands to direct the emotions of the viewer. PAGE 104 . A clean background will also not take away or distract from the main subject. All this from an image of a leaf in a pool of water. isolation and or depression. In the above example. Shooting emotions is a great way to inspire your photography and put your creativity to the test. in the upper right area of convergence. you can attach the emotion of loneliness. but utilizes negative space to balance and create a mood for the image.
PAGE 105 .Intro To Digital Photography This image uses a blank wall to balance off our subject. It affects how the viewer sees and feels about the image. Point of View or POV Point of view is literally where you place your camera when you are taking the photograph.
Low and high should be explored. I love to remind my college age students. “You have knees. PAGE 106 .” Utilize different angles to give the viewer a different point of view. bend them.Intro To Digital Photography See how you can tell where the camera was placed? And how it affects the viewer’s perception of the image? In this example the camera is about head level.
creates a strong and interesting image. Combine that with nice lighting and a sweet moment. Giving a photograph a foreground.Intro To Digital Photography Layering Layering creates a visual complexity that gives depth and a dimensionality to your images that takes a 2 dimensional format and gives the illusion of 3 dimensions. A visually complex image with three different layers to attract our viewer’s eyes which draws them deeper into our image. PAGE 107 . mid-ground and a background gives the viewer another element to explore. Shooting through the plants gives our image a foreground of out-of-focus leaves. a mid-ground of flowers and the girl and a background of out of focus plants behind the girls head.
Intro To Digital Photography Here’s a very simple example of layering where the subject’s hand serves as our foreground with his face as the mid and background. PAGE 108 . The image below shows clearly a fore/mid & back ground. Layering that draws the viewer’s eyes to different parts of the image to create a complex photograph.
Also. I know. don’t quit my day job for stand-up comedy. If not everything.Intro To Digital Photography Chapter 7: Storing & Uploading Your Images Question? What did they call the photographer who didn’t back up his photos? Answer: A sad photographer who lost all of his photos.zenfolio. at least your photos and important documents. Huh? Everything. So. look into an online service that charges a nominal fee for you to upload your images. For example. The third law of thermo dynamics states that everything is in a state of entropy. It is a fact of life. So.com. right? But my point is well made. including your hard drive. PAGE 109 . is going from a state of organization to a state of disorganization or chaos. How? Very rich people charge thousands of dollars to salvage data off of crashed drives. check out http://www. Mechanical things breakdown. buy an inexpensive external hard drive and back things up. if you don’t back up your photos and anything else on your hard drive you will lose them forever or spend thousands of dollars to possibly get them back. Everyone will have their hard drive fail at one point or another. it costs as little as $25 a year to upload your images for safekeeping. Just do it.
does not seem very productive every time you need an image.Intro To Digital Photography Organization of your images is probably one of the most daunting tasks now that file sizes are getting so large. For example. there are many programs available. by date. So. A larger Compact Flash card can easily hold a thousand images. try a method that utilizes at least two different ways to categorize an image. but what about finding an individual image when you can’t seem to remember when you shot it? Having to look through dozens of folders. By date. I recommend using iPhoto. remember to stick with your method. PAGE 110 . Whichever works best for you. One that seems to be used quite a bit is ACDSee. For PC users. time or even people with face recognition software. It automatically helps you organize by date. is a great way to categorize photos. For you Mac users. place. by name or by place.
I know it is not a shoot that I did for my business. You just assumed you could always find it. Like July2009Vacation or Dec2008Christmas. some operating systems will not recognize them. I look through one folder that has a couple dozen images and I’m on my way. PAGE 111 . it’s now buried in a huge folder with thousands of other images. But. after uploading countless images. be careful about dot’s and slashes. You waste countless hours looking for a single image and that starts to add up to a lot of time that you could spend out shooting more family photos. and that it was taken in Easter of 2007. What if you wanted to find this image that you made 4 years ago and you didn’t list it under any system. be wary. I placed this in a folder titled familyeaster2007.Intro To Digital Photography That way you can narrow down your search if you get forgetful. So.
www.takebetterphotosnow. Most of all.i365project.Intro To Digital Photography Final Thoughts There are so many things to learn about and apply as a photographer. my hope for each of you is that you shoot with a passion for photography that will lead you to become the best visual storyteller that you can be. I invite you to visit my website for more books and my blog where I share more tips on taking better photos now. My goal for this book is that you have learned some new skills that will help you on your photographic journey.com Michael PAGE 112 .com www. It’s the journey that can be so exciting and fulfilling as you become more experienced and talented in capturing and documenting the world around you.
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