Monday, September 18, 2006

Photography tips from the Basic Book of Photography!

A little switch in tone for this blog, but I recently registered for a photography class at the local community college--really as a pretense to meet people, but having an artistic/pseudo-artistic skill would be nice, too.

To help prepare, I picked up "The Basic Book of Photography" by Tom and Mischele Grimm. The first chapter is packed with the basic tips everyone should know. To help me remember them, I'll list them here. I don't think a little summary will get me into trouble, copyright-wise.

  • Have a center of interest in the photograph; put it off-center (according to the "law of thirds"), and get in close so that the viewfinder is filled.
  • Keep horizons straight in landscape shots.
  • Keep the background simple--shoot against the sky, the ground, or un-focus a too-busy background; be wary of background objects behind people's heads; they look like they're growing out of them!
  • Try multiple angles. Shoot from below for imposing shots; from above for diminutive ones.
  • Use "leading lines" and natural frames to direct attention to the center of interest.
  • Mix up horizontal and vertical shots.
  • Use greater focus for emphasis, foreshortening, etc.
  • Use meter-readings to expose correctly, or else over or under-expose for mood.
  • Candid shots superior to posed shots.
  • Include some action shots; stop action with a fast shutter speed, or else slow it down for blur. Try to shoot for the "peak of action". Pan the subject with a slower shutter speed to blur the background moving behind it. You can also zoom with slow shutter speeds to simulate movement in a static object.
  • Consider the effect of colors and contrast, including with B&W photos.

1 comment:

Matt of C G said...

How very neat! I took photography in high school for three years and was the yearbook photographer my senior year. We used the "T-Max" based chemical system to develop our black and white film back then. Ask you teacher about turning the magenta filter all the way up when making prints in black and white. PMJ used to make a multi ISO film as well.