Tips on how to take a good picture
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HOW TO TAKE
A GOOD PHOTOGRAPH
Any lines in the pictures must be straight - unless you're deliberately trying to be exotic. So horizons should horizontal and sides of buildings should be vertical (unless you're looking upwards). Background objects should not spoil the composition. So, for instance, avoid a traffic sign or a tree branch appearing to come out of a person's head. Remember the 'rule of thirds'. Imagine that there are invisible lines - two horizontal and two vertical - dividing your picture into nine sections. In many cases, you'll obtain a better picture if you put any natural horizontal lines - like the horizon - on one of your invisible horizontal lines rather than in the middle and if you locate your subject - such as a person or tree - on one of the invisble vertical lines rather than in the middle.
- Always remember that: the most fundamental element in taking a good photograph is composition. Modern automatic cameras can sort out focusing, lighting and other matters for you, but you have to chose where to point the camera and how to compose the picture. So take a few seconds to choose a good composition taking on board the following advice.
Scene in Cienfuegos in Cuba
Scene at Masada in Israel If you're using the 'rule of thirds' for a shot featuring a person, ensure that the person is looking into the space and not out of the shot. If you're shooting a picture in which the main
subject is not in the centre, lock the focus on the subject and then change the composition before clicking the camera. Then your subject will be sharp but the composition wil be good too. If you're photograhing a person, take a full body shot or a head and shoulders shot. In between shots (for instance, from the kneees upwards) don't work. If you're taking a full body shot, make sure that bits of the body are not 'cut off'. For instance, you don't want a bit of the head or the feet or an elbow out of shot.
Tobacco worker in Cuba If you're taking a head and shoulders shot, don't be afraid to get in close. You don't have to stand in the person's face; you can simply use your zoom.
Girl in Havana When shooting people, it's often a good idea to take two or three quick shots in succesion. People tend to relax a little after the first shot and look more natural. Assuming you have a digital camera, you can easily delete the less satisfactory shots. When appropriate, it's fun to invite people you're shooting to put on a little act instead of just standing or sitting there.
"Oh, no - not more Chinese food on our China tour!"
My wife and friends pretend that it's all too much See if you can 'frame' your shot. The frame might be a window, door, arch or simply a tree branch. The framing shot is my signature picture!
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