Thursday, May 27, 2010

Top 50 Photo Tips #50 to #41

OK, so there are tons of images that barrage us everyday but what makes a good photo and what makes a great photo? The answer may very well lie in the Top 50 photo tips of all time. Yep that's right I said 50. We will explore these 10 at a time so you don't go out in one weekend and try them all at once.

We will start with #50 through #41 in this article and work our way back to #1. In our second to last article, we will announce a prize for the first person that correctly guesses the #1 tip of all time. Here we go.

Here we go.

dirty#50 - Clean up this mess
Ever went to the beach or a football game where there was more dirt than there was grass. Then you know how important it is to keep your camera and other equipment clean. A trip to the beach can be devastating to your equipment. The salt air is very caustic not to mention the moisture. For your camera body, a damp then a dry paper towel will do the trick to eliminate that thin layer of salt air that has deposited itself on your equipment. For your lenses, a good lens cleaning solution and a microfiber or lens cloth is the order of the day.
#49 - Bag it
bagWe actually had a student that showed up in class with their camera (a brand new DSLR - about $700) in a plastic shopping bag. While we recommend a hard side case with a rubber seal to protect the camera from moisture. You can easily purchase a low end canvas bag and throw a couple of those silicone packets that came with your camera into it to absorb moisture from the bag to protect your camera. Honestly how much protection are you gonna get from a plastic shopping bag, it isn't even environmentally friendly. If the camera was dropped how exactly would he explain this to the manufacturer?
#48 - Camera straps are for wimps
strapsReally? I have had one on every camera that I have ever owned. I feel naked if I don't wear a seat belt when I drive, so why would I risk several thousand dollars to sweaty palms? Put it on and then put it down. If looking "Cool" is your reason for not using one, imagine how foolish you will look when it drops on the floor and doesn't work anymore? Cheap insurance.
#47 - Use Smaller Media Cards
Yep you read this right, smaller cards. We don't use a card that is larger than 4 GB for a high resolution DSLR. Sure we can only get about 170 shots on the card in the RAW setting. Consider this, in the days of film you only got 36 images max on a single roll of film, 200 is a cornucopia of images. Plus if the card goes bad and we can't retrieve our images, we haven't lost an entire shoot because ALL our pictures were on a single 32 GB card. In addition, you can get really fast low storage cards for 1/2 or less of the cost of the bigger ones.
#46 - Shoot A Lot Of Images and pick ONE
Ok so this seems to be a bit of a contradiction to the last tip. We tell you to do this because More is more to choose from. You don't have to use all the images you shoot but having all those selections to make your final decision is liberating. Finally there was only one Mona Lisa, and so it should be with your final image selections. Pick ONE from a series of shots that best tell the story.

#45 - What are you looking at?
One of the drawbacks to the digital age is someone that takes a picture and then immediately looks at it. For some reason these people believe that the whole world will be paused until they decide that the shot is "exactly" what they wanted. Knock it off! If this is you, while you are looking at the image for the perfect expression from your subject, it is happening right in front of you but you can't see it cause your face is buried in your camera's viewer.

monalisa#44 - Was Mona Lisa Smiling?
It's an age old question to say the least but it poses an important question. Do your subjects always have to smile to make a great photograph? NO! People are best when they are being themselves. Sometimes they have a crooked smile and know it, maybe they wore braces as a child or are a child with braces and they are self conscious. Maybe they need to have dental work done or are missing a chopper. Any way you look at it, if they don't wanna smile, don't make em.
#43 - Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Today most folks will view their scene through the screen on the back of their camera or the "live view" feature on most digital cameras. This is a cool feature, no doubt. You however, do not want to be so caught up in your scene that you don't see that ...... aaaaahhhhh cliff. Ok so this is dramatic, but you could likely be unaware of your surroundings and something can come in and spoil a great shot. Like a car passing in the background, or a bicyclist, small child or your thumb. Pay attention to the activity around you because it can not only spoil a good shot but it might also be distracting your subject causing that unwanted expression.
#42 - Fill The Frame
There was a class we held several years ago on shooting color as a subject. While we were reviewing the images a beautiful garden scene appeared on the screen and we as a class said what impressive greens were in the scene. The photographer was visibly upset stating that the color of choice wasn't green but red. We were of course puzzled only to find that the tree in the shot had a red Cardinal in it. Long story short, tell the story by getting close enough to your subject to make it obvious that they are the story in your image. You will want to leave a little room for cropping if you want to enlarge the images but get closer.

#41 - Be A Wall Flower
Some of the best shots you will ever take are the ones you take of people being people. As soon as someone is aware of your camera, they instantly change. Prevent this split personality from arising by being a wall flower. Blend in, use a longer lens, (Zoom out) and sit across the room the results may surprise you.
Tune in next month for the next 10 in our series. What will number one be? if you want to venture a guess or discuss any of these tips, comment below, visit the original article on Oceanic Time Warner's Leisure Page or FB page - Aloha

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