images you select will change based on your audience or output.
Remember that the memories they evoke are contextual. Help
your audience by providing this context.
fundamental difference when shooting digital vs. film
is having the ability to pay for only the images you
want to keep!
Photo by Chad Nelson
Evening at the Ballpark. Changing
your point of view:
do you capture the spectacle, the excitement, or the meaning
of a baseball game? A tough
task indeed, especially when you are only one person with
one camera. My strategy for getting around this is simple. Move
around! Capturing an event is about coverage; covering
the core action, the side moments, as well as the overall
surroundings. In this game, I started with wide shots of
the field, the scoreboard, and the crowd. Then I began
to focus on individual moments. At one point I decided
to take a longer route back to my seat. As I did, I found
a Yankee relief pitcher warming-up on the sidelines. No
big deal. But then I noticed the American flag directly
behind him. Taking the longer route produced an unexpected
shot, and one that, arguably, captured the essence of baseball
better than any other I took that night.
Photos by Don Barnett
Sunlight - Direct sunlight is the most harsh
when directly overhead, creating very dark and shadows with
a lot of contrast. See if you can get your subjects out of
the direct sunlight and find some way to diffuse the light.
when cloud cover or haze is present. This tends to diffuse
the light and soften the harshness
of direct sunlight.
the reflective light. The light found in the shadows is
a trick professional photographers
all the time. Try a nearby concrete wall or use one of
those windshield shades to bounce light off another object.
your subject in the reflected light.
This is the ideal light. In the shade on a bright day, the light
is wonderfully diffused. Objects beyond
your subject are in the background and
in full sun will get overexposed when you
meter for the objects in the shade.
Indoor light bulbs tend to be warm in color. The light can be
very desirable if properly exposed. If a digital camera
is set for outdoor sunlight, the image can be yellow
orange. Check your camera and the color temperature settings.
Be sure to set color balance for sun or indoor lights
separately, or outdoor shots can look blue and indoor
shots can look orange. Sometimes the effect can be used
to your advantage. In either circumstance, using a weak
fill flash can be successful in balancing out the color
- Minimal light calls for fast film (ASA speeds
of 400 up) and long exposure times. Portraits are difficult,
but landscapes are easily accomplished with a tripod or some
way to stabilize the camera. Moonlight photos tend to be monochromatic
unless very long exposures are used in which they can get unusual
and exaggerated color effects.
and Firelight -
Wonderfully sensitive and soft portraits can be shot by candle or fire light.
Your subject needs to remain fairly still due to low
light, and these shots require longer exposure times.
Constantly moving sources of light (such as a camp fires)
causes very soft edges, but dark and dramatic shadows..
image is a personal choice, edited only by you. Here's some guidelines
on an effective image:
understanding (time, place, subject, and so on) >Solicits
an emotional response >Communicates
the intentions of the photographer
How big is your circle of influence?
(quick) choices you make in-Camera may lend to easier
editing later. I have found that Photography books
tend to describe the technical aspects behind making
a technically proficient image. Here are some simple
techniques tailored to shooting photographs that
can communicate what you intend and can give you
a higher chance of making an effective image. .
Yourself from the View finder:
Making decisions quickly is easier with immediate
feedback from the LCD panel.
The economics of shooting pictures has changed! It
is so significant that I think it deserves its own
trademark. Why should you care about it? Because it
will save you a ton of money and give you a lot more
freedom! You should feel ok about the opportunistic
"waste" you generate.
are a few key tips:
yourself from the viewfinder. I
find this incredibly liberating. Your images
will be authentic and you'll begin to shoot
more images in one setting. The
color and lighting will naturally create
a cohesive series.
now, edit later. You'll
find things on your computer that you like
about an image (even blurry) that you didn't
see in the tiny screen on the camera. Unless
you're incredibly short of space on your
media card, keep the image until you can
view the entire image on the computer screen.
for Post. You
can adjust everything from color contrast
and temperature to general clean-up later.
In Hollywood, they call this 'fixing it in
Post" (post-production). If you plan on it,
you can free yourself from trying to get
the perfect image - you can construct it
you can, choose the light over the
location. For a portrait, look at the
overall quality of the light more than
the actual location you are shooting.
Near a window or door provides a beautiful
source of natural light for a subject
you want to get close to..
you've found a great spot, keep shooting!
If a location chooses you, try these tips:
film or Settings. In
a night scene where there is low light leave
the shutter open longer.
your point of view- Go
low, go high, completely change the way you are
viewing your location. Get
closer or move farther away. The more you vary
your angle and distance, the more interesting
be able to see your location differently.
in black and white - Some camera settings will
do this automatically. If you remove the color,
you will concentrate more on the light. Once you have
found the most interesting part(s) of your location,
then try moving back to color..
> Get the pieces,
fix it in Post. If you are planning to get it
on the computer anyway, shoot multiple shots of
the same thing over time. Use these pieces to
assemble your shot.
Once you have shot a number of images, quickly review them on your camera if you
can. Flip through them quickly. Order and re-order them in your head. This will
play an important part when you edit and sequence them later. .
people think of camera settings as either right
or wrong - which can become intimidating. Rather,
think of settings on your camera in terms of better
Black and White
in black (mode) whenever possible. It forces you
to see (and think) differently about your composition.
You will start to see things in contrast and gray
values. If your camcorder or digital camera has
a Black and White mode on it, use it. Removing
color is sometimes the most effective way to remove
additional complexity. It is also a great
way to remove a color temperature that may be distracting.
environment, once saturated with motion and color,
had transformed into a solemn world of black and
cameras have a Sepia mode on them. this can offer
a fresh pespective to your images, especially when
you show them off later. It can create a warm point
camera specs are pretty impressive, but keeping
all those features straight can quickly become
overwhelming. Start simple. I like to think of
the most important settings choice as manual or
automatic. Plus, I most always turn off the flash,
regardless, but that's just me. .
Most cameras will allow you to isolate one or
all of these listed above in some type of manual
mode, but fundamentally you’ll find that
the most significant changes will occur with the
relationship between shutter speed and aperture
(iris). These two work closely together to determine
the exposure and focal length (see the diagram).
The best way to learn is to work in Manual and
try it out (a lot).
Automatic covers a lot: auto focus, auto aperture,
auto shutter speed, and auto flash. If you are
in an automatic mode, take advantage of what is
“automatic” about it. Shooting in
auto helps you think about things outside the
camera rather than how the image is captured in-camera.
Things you can generally do better when shooting
first thing I do when I turn my camera on
is turn off the flash.
Great Portraits - Every time:
Here's 4 key principles
to acheive great portraits every
OFF THE FLASH. Your camera is really versatile.
It will do what it needs to get the light. The only
thing you might get is motion blur. Stick with it.
the Scene. Spot meter the areas where your
subject may move throughout the space. In this example,
the light changed quite a bit, but the settings exposure
on the face seemed to remain about the same.
Tone. Find it and follow-it. This will give you the softness
and the flexibility you’ll
need to crop & edit later.
with them... You’ll
find that you will eventially capture the essense of
your subject if you just stay with them. Missed opportunities
happen too frequently when we stop shooting.
professionals have spent their entire career studying
the qualities of light. Like much of the history
of photography, there is certainly a science in studying
it. The more you know about how light behaves on
surfaces, the better off you will be in creating effective
means turn off the flash!
flash is used as an overkill factor to guarantee
that your pictures will come out. It usually floods
the subject with front light. When you start to look
at light, you start to see the world differently.
you think of documenting things as they are, that
means that you will experience all kinds of lighting
will always make decisions, regardless of automation, software
or annotation. You will make creative choices and build
a body of work. Protect and preserve this work and enjoy
the breadth and depth it will provide. You (and your audience) will enjoy
the benefits of these decision most when looking back at
the body of work. .
When you start shooting with a
digital camera, your mentality begins to change.
you shoot in a sequence, you have a lot of things going for
you. Consistent light and a consistent subject both lend
to sequence continuity. By shooting many images you can shape
a narrative more effectively. I use sequences all the time.
modes put the camera in control. You should try to
take back some of this control by adjusting your ISO
Portraits - Every time I learned a great trick when
shooting portraits using the in-camera light meter.
If you are shooting manually,
you can walk right up to your subject (like three inches)
and meter the darker side of the face. Then step back
and compose your shot. You will notice that your meter
rating will either be above or below your mark. Do NOT change it! You have metered correctly for the skin tones
in the the face, it will be in the correct exposure.
Skin tone is the most important exposure when doing
a simple portrait. I also can get great results when
I shoot in automatic by Spot metering. On my camera,
this is when I press the shutter button down half-way.
It will correctly metter whatever is inside the square.
You can use this trick on just about anything within
the composition that you want a correct exposure.
Photo by Chad Nelson
This was my first shot. I immediately turned the
flash off. Notice that the camera automatically looks for
light and fires the flash when it needs additional light.
By turning off the flash and using the spot meter, I just
target the areas I want in the correct exposure. .
recommend using natural light whenever possible.