Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Be there

Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of being a success is just showing up.” I’m finding that to be the case with my photography. For some crazy reason, I don’t get any good shots when I’m sitting at home with my camera packed in its case. But the odds increase dramatically when I’m out and about with a camera in my hands.

Want to take better pictures? Take pictures. Lots of them. And to stack the deck even more in your favor, follow these hints:

Shoot within a half hour either side of sunrise or sunset. The light is low, warm and soft. Pro photographers don’t call these times the “magic hours” for nothing.

Look for drama. Creatures (human or otherwise) interacting with each other or their environment. Stormy weather. Moving water.

Can’t find drama? Create it. Change your point of view. Shoot from ground level. Find a high place. Tilt the camera. Overexpose. Underexpose. Get closer to your subject. Move farther away.

Compose yourself. Well, actually, compose your pictures. Rule of thirds is a good place to start. I personally try to place my subjects in the vicinity of either of the diagonal lines than run from the top left to lower right corners of the frame and vice versa. But don’t forget to try to go symmetrical every so often. Mix it up.

Build depth. Use diagonal lines in your photos to draw in your viewers. Try to establish three zones – foreground, middle ground and background.

Look for contrasts. Big and small. Near and far. High and low. Colorful and drab.

Then try to do as many of these in one shot as possible.

After you’re done shooting, evaluate what you’ve shot. What worked? What didn’t work? What would you have done differently?

Then go out and “be there” again.

Let me know how it goes.

Photographs © James Jordan.

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Blogger Arsenal For Arsenal Fans said...

Care to exchange links?

June 8, 2007 at 7:31 AM  
Anonymous babs said...

These are wonderful tips! Makes me want to rush right out--my camera's not getting many good pix in its case either. :) Thanks for the instant inspiration.

February 10, 2008 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Ricardipus said...

I'm enjoying these posts... came here via your other blog (Points of Light), and there via one of your Flickr photos.

March 5, 2008 at 7:43 AM  

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