Photography Quick Tips II

Shooting off-center

Rather than placing your subject in the middle of the screen, place it on one side and ensure something is in the background that fills the rest of the image. This can be really effective if the background has the same theme. For example, if photographing a football player, put the field goal posts in the background.

The Rule of Thirds

One of the most popular rules in photography is the "Rule of Thirds". It is a simple rule that can add to your photos. Simply, divide the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. When composing your shot, place important elements either along these lines, or where the lines join together. - NOT at the centre of the frame.

It's a very simple rule to follow and will result in a nicely balanced image. It also helps get rid of the bulls eye effect. ie: placing the subject dead center with a lot of empty space around them.
The Rule of Thirds is more of a guideline and sometimes you will find a better image when you break the rule.


Photography Quick Tips

Photographing Children

Children make wonderful subjects.

  • Bring yourself down to the child’s level, even if you need to get down on the floor. This view won't distort their image, as taking the shot from above will.

  • While posed shots are great, you can get better results by capturing an image when they are preoccupied. ie: while at play. You’ll capture their faces enjoying the moment.

  • Children who have grown up having their photo taken will be less likely to show off or not wanting to be in front of the camera

Filling the Frame

Almost any shot will look better if you take a couple of steps closer to your subject. Filling the frame with your subject will make a big difference of how your images will look.

Instead of moving closer you can use your zoom in on your subject to get a closer shot. Fill the frame with your subject's face only. With less clutter in the image, there's less to draw the eye away from the subject in your photo.

If you can't get close enough when you capture the shot, you can zoom in later on the computer - crop out everything except the subject's face and see the difference it makes.


Using Umbrellas as Light Modifiers

Umbrellas are useful as light modifiers because they are quick to setup, easy to transport, and generally less espensive than other options. There are many umbrellas on the market in many different styles and knowing what each does will help you narrow down your choices.

Shoot Through Umbrellas

Shoot through umbrellas, also called white, soft, or translucent umbrellas, are one of the most common umbrellas used by photographers. When you need to diffuse your light source, shoot through umbrellas are a good choice. The material used will produce results similar to a softbox, diffusing your lighting source and softening the light that hits your subject.

When you use a shoot through umbrella, position it between the light and your subject, adjusting the position of the light in regards to the umbrella until you get your desired effect.

Reflective Umbrellas

Reflective umbrellas are also useful modifiers, allowing you to bounce light directly onto your subject without the use of standard reflectors. This keeps your studio more organized and clean and still allows you to get the benefits of a reflective surface. Reflective umbrellas come in many different colors; black, silver, gold, and white are a few of the options available.

Gold: Use gold reflectors to warm up your pictures.
Silver: Silver reflectors can be used to brighten your picture, without affecting the color of the light.
White: Use white reflectors to bounce light into shadows, without affecting the quanity, quality, or color of light being cast on your subject.
Black: Black reflectors act in a subtractive manner, removing excess light from your photos.

You will also notice that some umbrellas have black backing and some have white. An advantage of the black backing is that it will keep out more unwanted light and heighten the effect of your reflected light.

When you use a reflective umbrella, position the light source between the umbrella and the subject, with the opening of the umbrella pointed towards the subject.

Umbrella Size

In both cases, the size of your umbrella will impact your end results. Just remember that the larger the umbrella, the more your light will be spread out. Using smaller umbrellas can give you more focus, while larger umbrellas can illuminate more area. This is something you'll have to play with to know what you like best; most photographers learn with a 33" umbrella because they are an inexpensive way to become familiar with how they work.


Lighting Quick Tips

We've assembled some quick tips that are important to keep in mind, but simple enough that they don't need an entire post on their own.

Sports League Photography

If you are using a tent, make sure to set it up in the north-south position to keep the morning sun out and shadows consistent throughout the day. You will get the best light if the opening faces north.

Red Eye

Use enough light so your subject's pupils are fully open and keep you flash off-center.

Indoor Ambient Light

Close blinds and turn off overhead lights. Overhead fluorescents can turn your photo green; incandescent floor lamps can turn your photos yellow.

If using a window for lighting, use a north facing window for the best light.

Night Time

Use a tripod and set your camera to the lowest noise rating possible.

Depth of Field

Remember this is an inverse relationship: the larger the opening, the shorter the depth of field. 16 is a small depth of field; 2.8 is a large depth of field.

And, as always, plan ahead with regards to equipment so you have time to become familiar with it before you are on a shoot.