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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Become a Street Photographer

There are street photographers who are like ghosts. You don’t notice them and you certainly don’t notice them photographing you. They carry small cameras and they have learned the trick of focusing the lens by judging the distance between the subject and the camera and adjusting the focus ring based on that distance. Basically, they shoot from the hip, with wide lenses to compensate for framing defects as they don’t actually see the frame, they can only guess it. With such a behavior, it is normal not to see them. They are not paparazzi, but the people tend to control themselves when a person aims a camera at them. By shooting without their knowledge, you can capture genuine expressions which are the heart of street photography.

Stalk people. It’s not illegal on the street. See a person you like, walk with them, follow them until you can get a shot of them. Go for public places so you won’t get the police on your head. Try to follow facial expressions and move like lightning when one that you like comes up. It’s all in the expression, and that’s what you’re supposed to be hunting. Never take close shots. Make the subject and the surroundings a part of your composition. Some bland in, some stand out, but that’s the diversity and the fun of it. A suit and tie in an abandoned factory looks better than a homeless in an abandoned factory. Contrast is the key.

Carry small equipment. Do not go street photographing with big heavy cameras and lenses that look like bazookas, people will notice you right away. Use small cameras, the smallest possible, because quality is not an issue. the best street photography in the world has some of the worst image quality as well.

Rules of Composition in Photography

To begin with, I looked at the 128 page manual, hardly understood a word, so set the camera to auto and went off on safari. I took some great photos but it was only after I joined a local camera club and started to learn about the art of composition that I began to actually look through the lens and think about what I was doing, instead of simply pointing the camera at an object and pressing the shutter.

Like me, I suspect that many new photographers get confused, or even totally put off, by such things as focal length, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focusing, exposure, etc., etc., and while I believe that it is very useful to understand the more technical elements, I do believe that the most important element for a new photographer to get to grips with, is Composition. All digital camera manufacturers spend a large amount of time and money on software to help the user get the correct camera settings to capture that shot and, as I did initially, if you set your camera on auto, the vast majority of time you will get technically good results. However the one thing that no camera is able to do, no matter how much money you have spent buying it, is compose a photo that is attractive to the eye.

So what do I mean by Composition? Putting it into its very basic form, composition can be said to be the way to create a photo that is aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Google “composition in photography” and you come up with such results as:-
20 Composition Techniques That Will Improve Your Photos:
10 Top Photography Composition Rules
9 Top Photography Composition Rules You Need To Know
18 Composition Rules For Photos That Shine
5 Elements of Composition in Photography
5 Easy Composition Guidelines
The 10 rules of photo composition (and why they work)
12 Rules for Effective Composition in Photography: etc., etc.!

While you will undoubtedly learn by reading all of those articles, (and I would suggest that you do in time), I will concentrate on a few simple rules that I follow. Before I go further, while some of these are called rules, remember rules are there to be broken. What I am trying to do is to encourage you to think about what you are trying to achieve when looking through the viewfinder. I will start then with something that you have probably already come across:-

The Rule of Thirds.

Basically, if you imagine a photo divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, the main subject of the image should be where a vertical line cross a horizontal one.

Many modern cameras allow you to place a grid in the viewfinder which can be used to place the object where two lines intersect. While we are talking about the Rule of Thirds, it is generally best to place the horizon on one of the thirds, rather than in the centre of the frame, dependent on whether the main points of interest are in the sky or on the ground.

Leading Lines

These lead the viewers eyes into the picture either to the main subject or on a journey through the whole of the picture. Examples of leading lines could be a path wandering through the image, a fence line, a meandering road or a stream or river.

Symmetry

To demonstrate that the rules are no more than guidelines, the next one contradicts the Rule of Thirds. If your image is symmetrical, then it could benefit from being centred either on the horizontal, or vertical centre line. This works particularly well for reflections

Rule of Space

This rule is talking about giving the subject in the photo, space to move into the frame. This particularly applies to animals and vehicles. The object should have the most space in front of it, and not be right up to the edge of frame, giving it nowhere to go.

Rule of Odds

Generally speaking, it is thought that photos with an odd number of subjects is more visually appealing and natural looking than those with an even number, where the viewers eyes may flick around the image, unsure of where to settle. I tend to use the rule of odds particularly if taking a close up of flowers or the like.

I hope that I have given you a brief insight into composition and that when you next look through your viewfinder you will at least stop and think for a few seconds at what you are looking at and how the shot may be improved. But just remember, these rules, and all the others you will come across, are simply guide lines to help you go in the right direction, they are not railway tracks that you have to stick to rigidly. Finally I will end with the words of Pablo Picasso – “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Wi-Fi Cameras

If you want to upload the photos to your phone or computer, you can easily do so. The good side is that you don’t have to use a cable to connect the camera to your Smartphone or computer for you to upload the photos; you only need to find a hotspot and you will be able to upload the photos automatically.

In addition to this, you have wireless control over the camera’s setting through your mobile device. Here you need to put on the Wi-Fi function and you will be able to connect the camera and your mobile phone and as a result you will be able to control the camera’s settings.

Challenges facing Wi-Fi cameras

Although, Wi-Fi cameras have the above benefits, they are being faced by a number of challenges. Some of the challenges include:

The system is hard to set up: unlike Smartphones that have large screens thus making them easy to set up, Wi-Fi cameras have small screens which make it hard to properly execute the various options. The small screens make it complicated to operate the devices.

Lack of dedicated apps: While some manufacturers make it easy for one to upload pictures to a social network or storage system, the corresponding apps are usually under-developed and often lack the necessary key features. The apps also tend to be too slow to accomplish the required task.

Compatibility: the unfortunate thing is that most of the present programs work only on particular operating systems. For the cameras to effectively work, the developers have to work on programs that will work across all platforms.

Price: the existing Wi-Fi cameras are more expensive than the regular cameras which often repel customers from buying them.

While the cameras face the above challenges, it’s easy to solve the challenges and create devices that anyone enthusiastic about technology will be eager to have.

Improve Photography Skills

Practice

Though this may seem somewhat obvious, many people only practice their photography skills during special moments. The more you become comfortable using your camera, the easier it will be for you to take excellent pictures for special occasions. Even when you do not have the camera in your hands, you can still practice with your eyes, noting which things will make good pictures.

Lighting Matters

Before you begin a photo session, look to see where your primary light sources are located. Are there awkward shadows being cast? Can you use them to create special effects? If there is shadowing that you would like to minimize on an up close photo, use the flash on your camera. It will help to light the dark areas. You also want to be certain that the light source is not directly behind you. Otherwise, you may inadvertently end up casting your own shadow into the photo.

Pay Attention

If you are working with human subjects, interact with them. Make eye contact and give them feedback on what you would like them to do. If you want your subjects to smile, have a well rounded stockpile of jokes and one-liners that you can use to release a natural smile when you are ready. If your subject is uncomfortable, it will show in the photos. Ask what you can do to help them if this occurs.

Look At Everything in the Frame

While you want your main subject to be at the center of your photograph, it is critical that you pay attention to the other elements surrounding them. Is there garbage or something else unsightly in the background of an anniversary picture? The message you wish for the picture to convey will make a difference in how these background elements will come across. For example, if you are showing the plight of the homeless, garbage in the background may be a desired addition to the picture.