Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The other day I picked up a Better Homes and Garden Photography magazine. I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing. But as I flipped through the magazine, I was a little bit disappointed because there wasn't really anything new in there. Then I realized the up side to that is that I've learned a thing or two over the years.

From Rapt 2 Scrap

The most compelling element in a photograph - for me - is the composition. I remember taking a home ec class in 9th grade and learning that odd numbers are pleasing to the eye. I think that's the same basic principle behind the rule of thirds. I've actually stumbled onto an alternate but similar composition technique: the diagonal method.

From Vacation - Day 8

Another favorite composition technique of mine is framing. Perhaps even more than creating a pleasing visual result, it's just fun to do. And of course my absolute favorite rule of photography is getting close to the subject. This one came naturally and I found myself filling a shot with someone's face, before I ever knew that was a basic rule of photography. This is also why I'm totally addicted to my zoom lenses.

From Vacation - Day 8

A second element that I think can really set a photograph apart is the lighting. The right lighting can make the end result absolutely magical. My family room has windows facing south and west. On good days, when the light is just so, I can't stop snapping photos. Whether the catch lights in my children's eyes are bright, or the backlighting is perfect, there's nothing that makes me want to pull out my camera more than perfect light. I still have a lot to learn in this regard but I'm enjoying that process. I have a shoe mounted flash, a gray card and a stack of books about lighting and exposure (not to mention about ten more in my Amazon shopping cart).

From Rapt 2 Scrap

My other favorite thing to play with is exposure. Generally I shoot in Program mode but I enjoy flipping over to Shutter Priority mode too. Every once in a blue moon I'll look down on the aperture but usually I'm more interested in the shutter speed.


So there you go. Read up on those techniques with the links I provided or just google them yourself. And why not pull out your camera's manual the next time you have some down time because I'll bet there are still plenty of things that your camera can do that you don't fully understand. That is definitely true for me!

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