Photography Tips

wxwaxwxwax ImmoderatorRegistered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
edited March 16, 2010 in Technique
How about a thread filled with practical tips for taking better pictures? The sort of information that would benefit both enthusiastic amateurs, and casual camera users.

I'll start. :nod

When framing a shot, try breaking your screen into thirds. Vertically and horizontally. And put the important stuff where those lines cross. Or along one of those lines.

fig1.gif

Next time you take a shot, try to avoid putting the subject of your shot in the dead center of the frame. And enjoy the results. :shay:
Sid.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
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Comments

  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    excellent, wax....
    shay's got a bunch of articles, shay, i'm thinking about "the zone system" and the "sharpening" articles for starters. also maybe "developing your images"...

    you could link them or repro them here... i'll leave that up to shay.
    wxwax wrote:
    How about a thread filled with practical tips for taking better pictures? The sort of information that would benefit both enthusiastic amateurs, and casual camera users.

    I'll start. Wink2.gif

    When framing a shot, try breaking your screen into thirds. Vertically and horizontally. And put the important stuff where those lines cross. Or along one of those lines.

    fig1.gif

    Next time you take a shot, try to avoid putting the subject of your shot in the dead center of the frame. And enjoy the results. artist.gif
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    nod.gif

    I have a book on the zone system, but sure wouldn't mind discussing it.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • kbasakbasa Big grins Registered Users Posts: 64 Big grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    When framing a shot, try breaking your screen into thirds. Vertically and horizontally. And put the important stuff where those lines cross. Or along one of those lines.

    fig1.gif

    Next time you take a shot, try to avoid putting the subject of your shot in the dead center of the frame. And enjoy the results. artist.gif
    Like this? This was one of the first pictures I took when I bought my S400.

    1351733-M.jpg
    What's this button do?
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited January 10, 2004
    Interesting. Notice Shay's avatar?

    1939852-M.jpg

    I happen to like this one better (reasons are left as an exercise for the reader iloveyou.gif ) but I guess it's the same idea.

    19033-L-1.jpg


    If I had a logical side, it would be saying right about now that it's nuts to like it better like these but.....
  • fishfish Site Megalodon Registered Users Posts: 2,950 Major grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    works for me.

    226427-M-1.jpg
    "Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk." - Edward Weston
    "The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."-Hunter S.Thompson
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    thirds2.jpg
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    I'm ripping off someone's web site, but here's a good example of why the Rule of Threes works.

    Scene not using the Rule of Threes.
    yelllakeh.jpg


    Same scene, this time using the Rule.
    yelllakev.jpg

    Pretty easy to see which one's better.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • MarcMarc Just sayin... Registered Users Posts: 37 Big grins
    edited January 10, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    ...When framing a shot, try breaking your screen into thirds. Vertically and horizontally. And put the important stuff where those lines cross. Or along one of those lines...
    That's what I was going for when I shot this:

    12050-L-1.jpg

    and this:

    12048-L-1.jpg

    I've still got some learning to do - but that's what I was trying for.

    Marc
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited January 13, 2004
    Which Way Should I Hold My Camera?
    OK, it's been a couple of days. Time for photography tip #2. Which Way Should I Hold My Camera?

    A too-simple topic for any experienced photographer, but something to which real amateurs don't give much thought.

    Look at the thing or person you're shooting. Does it look better if you capture the image with a lot of horizontal room? Or does it look better if you shoot with with more vertical room?

    Let the object or person you want to show, determine who you frame them.

    These aren't good photos, but may help to show why the even the same object can be shot both ways.


    1329322-M.jpg



    1329321-M.jpg




    We already have many gifted, and some professional photogs on this site who can do a much better job than I of exploring this subject.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Registered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
    edited January 13, 2004
    I have heard it said:

    Always give your client a vertical shot.

    That "client" can also just be yourself. The jist of it is, don't shoot it just one way, try an alternate view, even if nothing more complicateed than a vertical shot.

    My general rule of thumb is to make the orientations of the shot complimentary to the subject. If the subject is tall, do a vertical, if wide, a horizontal. It usually works good about 75% of the time.

    You could almost consider taking horizontal and vertical shots like bracketing the orientation ;-)
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Administrators Posts: 21,598 moderator
    edited January 14, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    OK, it's been a couple of days. Time for photography tip #2. Which Way Should I Hold My Camera?

    A too-simple topic for any experienced photographer, but something to which real amateurs don't give much thought.

    Look at the thing or person you're shooting. Does it look better if you capture the image with a lot of horizontal room? Or does it look better if you shoot with with more vertical room?

    Let the object or person you want to show, determine who you frame them.

    These aren't good photos, but may help to show why the even the same object can be shot both ways.

    We already have many gifted, and some professional photogs on this site who can do a much better job than I of exploring this subject.
    Remember that in addition to plain vertical and horizontal, you can try odd
    angles. With wide angle lenses, like 24-28, the image takes on a very different
    perspective. A rock on a beach becomes a boulder. This doesn't always work
    well with square objects.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited January 14, 2004
    ian408 wrote:
    With wide angle lenses, like 24-28, the image takes on a very different
    perspective. A rock on a beach becomes a boulder.

    Hey! umph.gif No looking forward in the textbook. Perspective is Chapter Five. :D
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited January 14, 2004
    ian408 wrote:
    With wide angle lenses, like 24-28, the image takes on a very different
    perspective. A rock on a beach becomes a boulder.

    Hey! :eh: No looking forward in the textbook. Perspective is Chapter Five. :D
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • cmr164cmr164 Focus! I need Focus! Registered Users Posts: 1,542 Major grins
    edited January 14, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    Hey! :eh: No looking forward in the textbook. Perspective is Chapter Five. :D
    wxwax wrote:
    Hey! :eh: No looking forward in the textbook. Perspective is Chapter Five. :D
    Cool. Now we are into TLRs!
    Charles Richmond IT & Security Consultant
    Operating System Design, Drivers, Software
    Villa Del Rio II, Talamban, Pit-os, Cebu, Ph
  • PAUL WILBURPAUL WILBUR Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 2 Beginner grinner
    edited January 14, 2004
    Do not think so hard.
    wxwax wrote:
    nod.gif

    I have a book on the zone system, but sure wouldn't mind discussing it.

    I got a degree in photo years ago, did the zone system and all that. The best teacher Carson graves Get his book on zone system uses a cheep diana toy camera. He teaches you to look at the world as pictures. Don't take life to seriously if it is nice take it. Who really desires a beatuiful landscape with a moter bike with no rider. no framing will ever help that. You missed the landscape totally with your planning and playing with technology. Feel the picture. Paul wilbur By the way.. My pictures suck... I love photos however.
  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Registered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
    edited January 15, 2004
    Who really desires a beatuiful landscape with a moter bike with no rider. no framing will ever help that. You missed the landscape totally with your planning and playing with technology. Feel the picture.
    That would depend on the intent and audience for the photo though. In this case, it looks to me like this is a motorcycle-centric photo with the landscape an interesting background. It's not a landscape with an interesting motorcycle ;-)
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • cmr164cmr164 Focus! I need Focus! Registered Users Posts: 1,542 Major grins
    edited January 15, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    OK, it's been a couple of days. Time for photography tip #2. Which Way Should I Hold My Camera?

    A too-simple topic for any experienced photographer, but something to which real amateurs don't give much thought.

    Look at the thing or person you're shooting. Does it look better if you capture the image with a lot of horizontal room? Or does it look better if you shoot with with more vertical room?

    Let the object or person you want to show, determine who you frame them.

    These aren't good photos, but may help to show why the even the same object can be shot both ways.

    (photos not quoted)

    We already have many gifted, and some professional photogs on this site who can do a much better job than I of exploring this subject.
    A couple more not great shots that demonstrate some framing issues:

    barcelona00nov637_horz_s.jpg

    The top one is 100mm 1/500sec f9.5
    and
    the bottom is 220mm 1/750sec f9.5
    barcelona00nov638_vert_s.jpg
    Charles Richmond IT & Security Consultant
    Operating System Design, Drivers, Software
    Villa Del Rio II, Talamban, Pit-os, Cebu, Ph
  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Registered Users Posts: 3,165 Major grins
    edited January 15, 2004
    Here is one version using the same aspect ratio of the camera and lining things up close to the thirds lines:

    barcelona00nov637_horz_s.jpg
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2004
    The Golden Mean
    OK class, hope you had a nice winter break, quiet down, school's back in session.

    Today's lesson is another of those rules of composition. This is one called "The Golden Mean." And it's far less intuitive than the Rule of Thirds that we discussed at the end of the last semester. Once again, I'm ripping off a webite... this time, the most excellent http://www.photozone.de.

    The Golden Mean is a technique that's been used for hundreds of years, and was first identified by the ancient Greeks. They discovered that certain ratios were pleasing to the eye. I encourage you to go to the website to get their comprehensive explanation of how to create the perfect rectangle, then subdivide it into visually attractive proportions. Here are their graphics, illustrating how the rectangle is created, how it is subdivided, and how a photo can be composed. The Golden mean, by the way, is the ratio found inside this perfect rectangle: it is 8:5.

    golden1.gif

    golden2.gif

    golden.jpg
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • lynnmalynnma Moddess Emeritus Homosassa, Florida (Paradise)Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 5,163
    edited February 17, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    OK class, hope you had a nice winter break, quiet down, school's back in session.

    Today's lesson is another of those rules of composition. This is one called "The Golden Mean." And it's far less intuitive than the Rule of Thirds that we discussed at the end of the last semester. Once again, I'm ripping off a webite... this time, the most excellent http://www.photozone.de.

    The Golden Mean is a technique that's been used for hundreds of years, and was first identified by the ancient Greeks. They discovered that certain ratios were pleasing to the eye. I encourage you to go to the website to get their comprehensive explanation of how to create the perfect rectangle, then subdivide it into visually attractive proportions. Here are their graphics, illustrating how the rectangle is created, how it is subdivided, and how a photo can be composed. The Golden mean, by the way, is the ratio found inside this perfect rectangle: it is 8:5.

    golden1.gif

    golden2.gif

    golden.jpg
    ne_nau.gif Sid I went to the web site and could not find any tutorials, do you know of any other good Zone sites? This is all very interesting, I'm intriqued.
    Lynn
  • lynnmalynnma Moddess Emeritus Homosassa, Florida (Paradise)Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 5,163
    edited February 17, 2004
    lynnma wrote:
    ne_nau.gif Sid I went to the web site and could not find any tutorials, do you know of any other good Zone sites? This is all very interesting, I'm intriqued.
    Lynn
    Do you have any more examples of pictures that you've taken that show "The Golden Mean"? should I get a book on the Zone... I tried the diet, that did'nt work, maybe this one will...
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2004
    Erm, not me, I'm just trying to learn it. But I use the rule of thirds all the time... and that's just an extension of the Golden Mean, they say.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2004
    lynnma wrote:
    ne_nau.gif Sid I went to the web site and could not find any tutorials, do you know of any other good Zone sites? This is all very interesting, I'm intriqued.
    Lynn

    Did you click on Technique at the top? If you do, on the next page look on the left side - all of those links are to tips. They're brief but to the point. Also, check out Luminous Landscape. Click on the Tutorials tab along the top - more great stuff, although I haven't checked to see if he covers the Golden Mean.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • photobugphotobug Major grins Silicon Valley, CARegistered Users Posts: 633 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    How about a thread filled with practical tips for taking better pictures? The sort of information that would benefit both enthusiastic amateurs, and casual camera users.

    I'll start. Wink2.gif

    When framing a shot, try breaking your screen into thirds. Vertically and horizontally. And put the important stuff where those lines cross. Or along one of those lines.

    fig1.gif

    Next time you take a shot, try to avoid putting the subject of your shot in the dead center of the frame. And enjoy the results. artist.gif


    When framing a shot that includes motion -- either actual physical motion
    or intended "eye motion" in the viewer -- another general rule of thumb
    is to "leave space" for that motion in the composition. That is, if something
    is moving, leave "1/3" of the frame behind it and "2/3" of the frame in
    front of it. Ditto if it's, say, of a person looking, and our eye wants to
    follow the direction their eyes are looking -- leave 2/3 in front of them.

    Like all rules of thumb, this one works most of the time but is just a quick
    rule of thumb, not a law...
    Canon EOS 7D ........ 24-105 f/4L | 50 f/1.4 | 70-200 f/2.8L IS + 1.4x II TC ........ 580EX
    Supported by: Benro C-298 Flexpod tripod, MC96 monopod, Induro PHQ1 head
    Also play with: studio strobes, umbrellas, softboxes, ...and a partridge in a pear tree...
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2004
    Good one. Sorta like leading the moving object.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • gusgus Major grins Registered Users Posts: 16,209 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2004
    Marc wrote:
    That's what I was going for when I shot this:



    and this:

    Very nice shots marc thumb.gif
  • soupsoup focused Registered Users Posts: 78 Big grins
    edited February 22, 2004
    this i think follows the golden rule(mean) compositionally. yes , no?

    i have also been told that it doesnt follow the rule of thirds, but beg to differ ;}
    despite the fact the subject is centered
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited February 22, 2004
    Sometimes ya gotta go by feel, not just rules. I prefer this crop, which coincidentally more closely adheres to the rule of thirds. I like it because it puts the dominant part of your image in a strong position. It also has a branch pulling across the diagonal, holding the shot together. It's a nice shot - great that the dominant bird is looking in the direction of the secondary bird.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • soupsoup focused Registered Users Posts: 78 Big grins
    edited February 22, 2004
    my thinking was a deception of the eye. the branch cutting the image in thirds diagonally seemingly moving the main bird off center - the blurred branch by the other bird cutting it in thirds the other way diagonally - with the BG bird at the thirds marker. its an uncropped image. the cropped version is good too, but i try not to crop too often if i can avoid it.

    the back bird is actually looking at the main one as well - shot one frame before they flew off -shot through window and screen.


    thanks for looking.


    canon 75-300mm f:4-5.6 - handheld - 480mm equiv
  • SeamaidenSeamaiden Sea Urchin Registered Users Posts: 339 Major grins
    edited March 16, 2004
    Is the Golden Mean anything like the Golden Ratio, that which is 1:1.618?

    I thought this thread needed a bump, and some more tips for n00bs. :D
    Youth and Enthusiasm
    Are No Match For
    Age and Treachery
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