16 February 2008

Photography Tips

I'm by no means a photographer. Not in anyway. But my kid has taught me a few things about taking some usable shots of him. The following are a few principles I keep in mind when digitally capturing the shenanigans of my wee one.

1. Lighting is king. Sunlight is an angel. Dawn and dusk light are magic. And, to me, the flash is the devil. I use natural light as much as humanly possible.

2. Asymmetrical composition. Always centering your subject is, well, boring. And, of course, it breaks the rule of thirds.

3. Establishing a visual hierarchy.
Typically I want my Spud to be the first thing you notice when you first glance at the photo. I do this by having a clean and simple backdrop. I also achieve this by using a low depth of field which is easy-peezy with our new swishy camera and hot lense. I'll post about this later. Finally, I simply just get in really close.

4. Trying all the angles.
I like to try out all sorts of different angles. Shooting from the top, the aerial, can be good. But I want to avoid consistently using the adult's perspective (i.e. my eye level). It's just dull; that's the view we all have, everyday. So I also try shooting from the hip or the knee or even my feet. Why not?

5. Taking risks.
I like adding an element of randomness to my shots. I'll hold out my camera at arm's length and shoot without being able to preview the shot. I end up throwing a lot of the images out but sometimes there's a keeper. There can be beauty in innocently capturing a random moment. And worth the risk.

6. Taking a million shots. It's the law of averages really. When you are as amateur as I am, it's wise to take 100 shots in hopes you get lucky. And eventually you will.

7. Edit your face off.
If I take 100 shots. I want to keep 20. Maybe even 10. This is especially important when I'm showing them to friends and family. If the photo needs too many words to explain it then I chuck it.

Sometimes after a session with Spud I strike it lucky and get 50 usable shots. That's when I get ruthless. Because I know that any beauty will be lost if it's surrounded by visual noise. If there are 10 of him smiling I force myself to pick the best one. This strategy gives me permission to take a million shots without being burdened with truckloads of mediocre digital data.

Well. That's all I know. For now. I'm still learning.