Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ode to Scully (and Night too)

I've signed up to receive *free* email lessons from David Peterson, and I'm a little behind, but here is what I've learned so far:
  • Move Closer to your subject
  • Use Optical rather than Digital zoom
  • Place your subject Off-Center
  • Meet Kids Eye-to-Eye
  • Take Lots of Pictures-they're digital
I practiced moving closer to the subject, the subject being Scully, our dog. I have some I took of Night, but he was busy playing his video game, so he wasn't being a very good model. Keira blinks too much when the flash goes off; Scully is a good model.

David recommends moving closer and filling the frame entirely with the subject. He says to try to use the viewfinder rather than the lcd screen, but my digital camera doesn't even have a viewfinder! He mentions trying to get just the subjects face in the picture to notice a difference.

Although physically moving in is the best option, using optical zoom is better than digital because digital sacrifices some of the pixel-quality of the photo. Again, I only have digital zoom; or if I do have optical zoom, I haven't found it yet!! I've mainly focussed on getting as close as possible in order to capture the moment. I will read my manual and see if I'm missing the optical zoom, though.

A common professional photography rule is called the rule of thirds. Divide the frame into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. By placing the subject either along these lines or where they intersect, you have a more balanced, interesting picture. Having an interesting background in the center is also eye-catching. (such as a child in his pj's off centered with the Christmas tree centered but in the background)

When photographing kids (or pets!), meet them down at their level rather than distorting them by taking them from above. Capturing their natural expressions rather than posed also add to the value of the photo. He suggests photographing kids often so they are used to you and don't pose all the time.

My final lesson today involved taking lots and lots of pictures so that I capture the scene I'm looking at. Since the film is digital, I can always erase it. David suggests checking the memory card every half hour or so and weeding out the ones that aren't good.

So, here are scenes from my practice session.

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