PHOTOGRAPHY - Taking Pictures


You want your photos to demonstrate both strong CONTENT and strong FORMAT
Content: What is the picture about?
Format: How does the picture look?
  • The picture SHOULD
    • Tell a story
    • Evoke an emotion
    • Capture a personality
    • Capture a relevant moment
  • The picture should be MORE than just someone "smiling for the camera"
  • The picture SHOULD
    • Use appropriate Orientation: Portrait vs. Landscape
    • Have a distinct subject of focus
    • Have the subject clear and in focus
    • Have an uncluttered background
    • Use appropriate lighting

BEFORE you start taking photos you should
  1. Look in old yearbooks for similar REFERENCE PHOTOS for what you need
    What worked well? What DIDN'T work well? What lighting was used?
  2. Decide whether you need PORTRAIT or LANDSCAPE photos
  3. Check the links above for notes on specific shooting environments

BEST TIPS to make ANY camera work better:

Control Your FLASH

  • Know how to turn your flash OFF or ON, and experiment with both.
    • INDOORS - Try turning your flash OFF for softer lighting; you have to hold your camera especially steady for the image not to blur.
    • OUTDOORS - Try turning your flash ON - a “Fill Flash” can illuminate deep shadows on your subject.
  • DON’T rely on “AUTO” flash - you should MANUALLY turn the flash on or off. Sometimes you have to take your entire CAMERA out of “auto-mode”.
  • Make sure the flash is above the lens when taking portrait orientation photos, or else the shadows will be exagerated.
  • DON’T use “RED EYE” - it can distract your subjects

Choose your LIGHTING

  • Use natural lighting if it’s available. ie. nearby windows
  • Keep the sun behind you, not in your lens.
  • Use Side Lighting and Back Lighting if you have a fill flash
  • Take the picture in nearby shade for softer lighting

Choose your BACKGROUND

  • Move around the subject to find an uncluttered background for your subject. Move UP and DOWN to use the sky or the ground.
  • Look for colour, perspective, or angles to make the shot more interesting.

FILL the FRAME

  • Max out the optical ZOOM on your camera to “get closer” to your subject
  • Move in on your subject to feature them
  • DON’T WASTE A PIXEL on unneccessary backgrounds. The more pixels you devote to your subject, the better the quality of the shot will be.





1. CHECK AHEAD
  • Check your BATTERIES, make sure you have spares in the case
  • Check the LENS to ensure that it’s clean
  • Check, and if need be, set the DATE and TIME on your camera - it really helps to identify the source of your photos later on.
  • Check the SETTINGS
    1. QUALITY of RESOLUTION in Megapixels and COMPRESSION quality
    2. ISO - 200 is good for indoor use, 100 for outdoor
    3. WHITE BALANCE - if you're indoors, AUTO is okay - but if outdoors, use DAYLIGHT to minimize shutter lag
  • Check the Memory card, Delete old photos IF it’s safe
2. EXPERIMENT
with the FLASH
  • Take one shot WITH, and one WITHOUT (Hold the camera steady)
  • To overcome window light
  • Outdoors to illuminate in shade
3. Avoid CAST SHADOWS
  • Make sure the FLASH is on TOP of your lens
4. Choose Your BACKGROUNDS
  • Move your camera (or your subject) to use SIMPLE BACKGROUNDS
  • Use the SKY by getting low
  • Use the GROUND by standing on a chair
  • Avoid having day-lit windows in the background
5. DON’T Say CHEESE
  • Catch people in the act
  • Look for visual stories to be told
  • Ask people to ham it up
6. Get CLOSE
  • Fill the frame with your subject... move IN on them
  • Don’t waste a pixel!
7. Use the SUN
  • To illuminate large groups evenly
  • Keep it behind you
8. Use Shade
  • To keep your subjects from squinting
  • To provide softer, more flattering light

How to make a portrait better

Photo
Orientation
TIP
CRITIQUE
PhotoTips01.jpg
LANDSCAPE Orientation
Given the task of taking a student's picture, most people's instinct is to simply Point & Shoot
With digital cameras, EVERY pixel counts - the more pixels you dedicate to the actual subject of your photo, the clearer it will appear in print
PhotoTips02.jpg
PORTRAIT Orientation
Turn the camera on it's side and
  • FILL THE FRAME
  • USE a SIMPLE BACKGROUND
  • AVOID BACKGROUND NOISE & LIGHT
The focus of the photo is now more obviously the actual subject PROBLEM - there is a cast shadow over his head
PhotoTips03.jpg
PORTRAIT Orientation
  • KEEP THE FLASH ON TOP
By turning the camera on it's OTHER end, the shadow is cast BEHIND the subject, effectively hiding it. PROBLEM: The flash "washes out" depth and detail, and the photo looks "harsh"
PhotoTips04.jpg
PORTRAIT Orientation
  • TURN THE FLASH OFF
Learn to turn the flash off, and use AMBIENT lighting. The lighting becomes more soft and "natural" and the portrait is more flattering. PROBLEM: This only works if your subject is not moving, and if you hold the camera very still

PHOTO ASSIGNMENT 01
Demonstrate the tips that you've learned so far by taking a portrait of a partner
Indoor Shot With / Without Flash (at least 2 pics)