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Thread: Taking pictures...

  1. #1
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    Default Taking pictures...

    So, for some of you more seasoned guys out there...Any advice to help with taking better quality pictures? Anything and everything is welcome...Just kinda feeling my way through this and its proving to be quite the art.....hard to master

  2. #2
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    The two main things I can think of are getting the exposure right, and getting the composition right.

    Exposure is generally pretty easy with a digital camera if it has a histogram. Most people don't know for what good a histogram is, so they just make sure it's turned off & out of the way. That's the wrong thing to do. Go through your camera's manual and find out how to turn it on, and leave it on. Then when you take a picture look at the histogram and generally make sure you get all the bumps somewhere in between the two ends, without any heaps of data being squeezed off the left side (too dark) or off the right side (too bright). If it doesn't look right or doesn't fit where it should, adjust the camera's exposure compensation and take the shot again until you get it right. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it works most of the time.

    Composition is a lot more tricky, and far more subjective, but a common idea is to frame the shot so there is only one primary subject that attracts the eye, and frame it so that subject is *not* in the middle of the picture. Move around, zoom in, adjust your angle, lay on your belly or climb a tree -- what ever you have to do -- but eliminate competing elements of interest until you have only one. And again, keep it out of the center of the image. Just off center will do -- you don't have to move it all the way to the edge. Same with horizon lines -- never put it in the middle of the image. Tip the camera up or down a bit to raise or lower the line.

    Another composition idea is not to take pictures of something head on -- not people and not buildings especially. Get off to the side of buildings and shoot them with angles, not squares. Same with people, get them turned sideways a bit. Never line 'em up to directly face the camera. They can turn their eye's towards the camera, but not their bodies. Always have one shoulder closer than the other, and preferably their eye's too.

    Unlike adjusting the exposure with the histogram, there aren't just a few exceptions to composition rules, there are lots of them. So when ever you see or hear a rule of composition (rule of thirds, golden mean, diagonals repeating elements, S curves, etc.) be aware that the best shot may be the exact opposite of the rule. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Also, some cameras, usually the better ones, need some added unsharp masking to look there best. Low end cameras usually do this for you, but camera manufacturers target their better cameras to people who should know to do this themselves in a way that is better than any camera could do. This is a common complaint that inexperienced DSLR buyers have when upgrading their camera. Although the cameras are adjustable for increased sharpness if you just want to be lazy & shoot without post processing.

    And any time you resize an image to fit on the web it will almost always look better if you re-sharpen after you resize. It's just the nature of digital.

  3. #3
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    Buy the best tripod and head you can afford and use it as much as you can while taking photos. It is impossible to hold the camera as well as a good tripod can.
    Tennessee

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    Any suggestions?

    Was looking at a Monopod....

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    Your best off to start with a tripod to learn everything you can with your camera. A monopod is nice for some situations, but a tripd will be necessary for some and work for all!
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

    To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page

  6. #6
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    I use a monopod sometimes. They work for making the camera a little more steady in marginal lighting situations, and they work well for supporting heavy lenses when you also have to move fast. That's why you see them on the side lines of football games. But even the flimsiest of tripods is steadier than the best monopod. But I still would not waste my money on flimsy tripods.

    Bogen/Manfrotto make good tripods for their cost. They aren't the best, but they don't cost the most either. Gitzo and a few other brands can be a lot more money, but are also generally higher quality. Carbon fiber and basalt fiber are lighter than aluminum but dampen movement well and are far more expensive.

    I bought a Bogen 3001 tripod leg set as a good balance between light weight and steadiness. My only complaint is that it is not very tall. I think now, for me, the 3021 leg set would be a better all around choice, but it does add a bit more weight. I also have a little Velbon 343e Maxi tripod for packing around when I don't want a large tripod. The Velbon Maxi series is a good choice in medium-low cost, light weight tripods. They are not as steady as lager & heavier tripods, but they can be made to work well if your gear is not too heavy, and are durable enough for what they are.

    The other thing to ponder is the type of tripod head to put on your leg set. I prefer ball heads for most everything, but they do cost more than a three way head. Ball heads are faster to use though, and I'm not a patient man.

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