I shutter to think: plan and adapt

I shutter to think: plan and adapt

M.X. Déry, Contributor ~

I love that almost everyone nowadays takes photos, but there are a number of you, and you know who you are, that commit every photography sin, and I shutter to think what people in the future will say about our walls of rubbish photos.

I’ve ranted heavily about cell phones, but last week I also advised that if you must shoot your photos with a phone, you should use the highest resolution, turn on high dynamic range (HDR) and to not use a digital zoom.

While this advice is unique to cell phones, there are things every would-be photographer can do to improve their imagery.

For one, you are not a tripod. When people take a picture, they tend to hold the camera up to the eyes while standing perfectly still, legs fully extended as if they were a tripod, unable to move.

While this posture might be good for the first shot, if the subject of the photo isn’t the same height as the photographer, it is unlikely the angle will be perfect.

Changing the angle for the second and third shot is a great way to improve your photos. Take the time to review the shot you took as the “tripod” and then remember you can bend your legs and move around the subject.

On the topic of the subject, there are two “rules” of photography that seem to contradict each other, but the sweet spot is where they overlap: the rule of thirds and don’t centre the heads.

Shooting a photo of a person in landscape and centering the head creates an image with more than half the space being empty and is, quite frankly, boring. The same shot in portrait mode, with the subject filling the right or left third of the frame is much more appealing to the eye.

Change the focus point on your camera or phone so you are not stuck using the centre of the frame to focus. On a phone it is as simple as touching the point you want to be the focus. Depending on the camera, it can be a quick joystick motion or a complex menu option. Explore your menus to find it.

While HDR may help you take a photo of a subject that is back-lit, it is always better to reposition so the light is lighting up your subject, rather than let the software on your phone fix your mistakes.

Most mistakes can be eliminated by planning your shots before you take them. Before you cook a meal, you consider the time you have available, the ingredients you need and the tools required to make it. A photo is the same. It needs light, the correct angle, and proper framing.

Take 30 seconds to plan, attempt the photo and review. If the soufflé didn’t rise, try again. Your imagery will be the sweeter for it.

The Lookout, CFB Esquimalt and Maritime Forces Pacific Public Affairs are always looking for good imagery for social media. Imagery technicians can’t be everywhere, so if you have high quality imagery of interest, such as shipboard life, promotions, ships arriving/departing, etcetera, be sure to send it to n02pao@gmail.com

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