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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Direction of Lighting

Photography is all about light, the direction of the light falling on your subject is most important, you must look at your subject carefully and see how the shadows fall.

If you are able to choose the time of day to shoot your pictures, try to pick a time when the sun is low in the sky, either shoot in the early morning or late afternoon. Shooting pictures of people with the sun too high in the sky, tends to mean the subject's eyes will be in shadow and/or your subject will be squinting in the strong light, both of which tend to look horrible. A nice side effect of shooting in the early morning or late afternoon is that the colour of the light is 'warmer', reds and yellows are stronger which generally gives a more pleasing effect.

If you are photographing in sunlight, try to position yourself so that the sun hits your subject from the side, this will give you nice 'modelling' and help create a 3D effect in the picture.

Sunlight behind the subject can give a very pleasing 'backlight' effect but be careful that you are not getting 'flare' in the lens, which degrades the contrast of the image.


One of the easiest ways to improve your photography is with careful attention to framing. Look into the corners of the viewfinder to see what is there. Do you need all that background? Can you get closer to your subject or zoom in?

Turn the Camera on it's Side

At first it feels awkward holding the camera on it's side, but it is worth getting used to. If the shape of your subject, a person or a building, fits into an upright rectangle, you waste so much picture space if you shoot in landscape. You paid for all those millions of pixels, don't waste them.


Select only the best of your pictures to show to others and leave the rest in the drawer. Showing someone every picture you have taken dilutes the effect of the best pictures and gets very boring. You may want to show twenty pictures of little Johnny at the park because they are all quite good and you can't decide which are the best but, trust me, you will be better off making that decision and showing only the few good ones.

What Makes A Postcard-Perfect Photograph

What Makes A
Postcard-Perfect Photograph?

By Andrew Hudson

Four elements are common to all good photographs: simplicity, composition, lighting, and practice.

Simplicity is actually a deceptively difficult element to capture. What you as a photographer need to do is let the camera help you simplify the things you see in front of you. You begin with a very busy canvas (everything in view) and have to work to simplify by eliminating some of the contents. You can do this either by getting physically closer to your subject, or by using a telephoto lens to zoom in and crop the shot tighter. When you photograph a person, for example, photograph his or her face only, rather than the whole person. Composition is equally important. An artist's technique, called the "golden mean," is to divide the picture into imaginary thirds both vertically and horizontally, like a tic-tac-toe board. Then, place the subject of the photo on or near those imaginary lines or their intersections. Study photographs that you like and you'll see that almost every one has thirds that you can find. Lighting is the third key ingredient. Photos that win competitions almost always show a skilled use of light. Try to photograph only at dawn, in the late afternoon, and at dusk, when the low angle of the sun produces rich, warm colors and long shadows. Avoid shooting at noon, a time when light is very "flat." Practice: Taking photographs that you like won't take a lot of special, expensive equipment. But it will take lots of trial and error. Even professional photographers take many photographs of the same subject to get just one that they like. Remember, only practice makes perfect!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Great Landscape Photography

Be at One with the Land

By Mark A. Fenwick

Buyers and collectors have accepted photography as art for some time, but only if it's of significant artistic merit. Great landscape photography sells because the buyer is searching for escapism and the need to dream. As a species we have always been linked to and drawn to the landscape. Do you have a love for the countryside and an understanding of the landscape? When you're out in the great outdoors, away from the bustle, what do you see ... ... sunlight filtering through trees and dancing on the landscape? ... snow on the mountains and a gushing river in full flow? ... coastal cliffs with the shimmering sea lapping onto the shore? ... a brooding sky casting a spell over the windswept moors? ... the warm glow of the sun setting at the close of day? ... or mists and changing patterns of wind, clouds and magical light? Do you see the beauty and feel the connection? To produce a great photo landscape you need to understand the countryside and how light affects it. You need to have a passion for the land and experience an intimate connection with nature. The best way of doing this is to explore an area on foot and become part of the landscape before taking any photos. On your walk look for:
  • Light (shadows and highlights)
  • Shapes (round and angular)
  • Colour (harmony and discord)
  • Texture (rough and smooth)
  • Composition (strong and weak)
  • Tones (light and dark)
  • Patterns (even and odd)
  • Mystery ( ? and ? )
So the next time you're out with your camera looking for that open vista of rolling hills and mountains, also observe the intimate details in the landscape and maybe just photograph a small section of the bigger picture. Where do you go to find the perfect or most interesting images? Do you have a favourite place or do you simply like to travel and see what you find? The world is full of wonderful locations and the image creator is blessed with so much choice. Some of you will specialize in a particular area ... capturing the wildlife silhouetted against golden sunsets in Africa; the architecture of ancient civilisation in Egypt; the vast skies and tumbleweed of Nevada or the diverse, often moody landscape of the British Isles. Whatever gives you the most joy and satisfaction, go there and get creative! If you only have a vague idea of the landscape work you would like to do, the best idea is to just go out there and explore. Start locally. It's surprising what you'll find literally on your back door and this will give you a chance to experiment and see what locations you are drawn to. Your personality and your vision must come through in every photo you take; it's up to you to capture the essence of the landscape in front of you. If your photograph works, the person viewing your image will feel they can step into your picture and experience the emotion of being there. A great landscape photograph is a great escape.

About The Author

Mark A. Fenwick is a Fine Art Photographer. For tips and tricks of professional photography, and photography jobs and opportunities, visit PhotographyUpdate.com.

Capture The World With Travel Photography

Capture The World With
Travel Photography

By TJ Tierney

Summer time is the perfect time for snap happy people, and for anyone heading to an exotic destination for a well deserved break. Tourists all over the world capture priceless memories forever and their top-quality images are then stored away never to be seen by anyone. Travel photography is a great hobby for any holiday goer, and with a few helpful tips you can bring home some great images that you can enjoy forever. If your images are better then normal you may be able to make some cash from them. The key to travel photography is to make your images appealing to a wider audience than normal. You want to capture the mood and culture of a new place. You need to be able to sell a holiday through a photo.

Tips on What To Photograph

Taking landscape images in a far-off land can be tricky. The light conditions may be very different from what you are used to. Exposure may also be very tricky to calculate. If you are in doubt, bracket your shots to ensure that you will get the perfect image. Travel photographers should start their day as the sun is rising. This is the best time to capture mood in a landscape image. Night time urban landscape pictures will always make an interesting shot when exposed correctly. Use a tripod to ensure that your image is sharp. Food shots can be very memorable, try to include the waiter or anything that you normally don't see at home. The interior and the exterior of restaurants can also be photographed. Take pictures of local signs, buildings and famous landmarks. Be very careful with the position of the sun. Try taking images when the sun is to your side. This will cast long shadows along the front of the building. Use a polarising filter to cut out any glare from the glass in buildings. Photograph the people. Travel companies are always seeking interesting people images. Photograph people eating food - people working - children playing - local police, fire fighters and any other service people in the area. Make sure that they are doing something interesting. Visit local markets. This can make very interesting photography. Take plenty of images of the local stalls and the sellers. Take pictures of the different foods and anything else that you think may be unusual. Travel photography may also be an immense financial trip for the professional photographer. Photo publishers are always seeking new material and are always on the look out for new talent. When you return home with your images make a copy of each. Label each image with a brief caption. Its best to do this straight away when the holiday is fresh in your head. Any holiday goer with the ability to use their lens correctly has the potential to sell their images. All you need to know is what makes a good travel image. You don't need to be a top class photographer to profit from taking pictures of far-off places.

About The Author

TJ Tierney is an award winning Irish Landscape photographer and a freelance writer. He frequently writes for the photography directory goldprints.com and the shopping directory shop-4us.com. To view or buy some of his images, visit his on line gallery at GoldenIrishLight.com.