Wednesday, March 31, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week 5


I kind of skipped Week 4 on the flash. What can I say, it was my birthday week and the week where I returned to work and I just didn't find myself with much free time. Plus I really don't use the flash unless I have to or if someone else is using my camera to take a picture. Otherwise it stays off half the time. I even made it through the last few days of my DC trip when I "dropped" my camera and the flash broke. It could have been a ghost hanging out in the church or the hotel that we were looking at though. It really did just fly out of my hands.

Week 5 is all about composition. The lesson offers up these 6 tips:

Tip#1 -- Keep it Simple by eliminating the distractions in your photos.
Tip#2 -- Apply the Rule of Thirds - Our eyes are naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds of the way up (or over) on a photo. Compose your photo so that your subject(s) or action is located at one of the intersecting points rather than in the middle, or dead center, of the image.
Tip#3 -- Keep an Eye on the Horizon - Place the horizon about 2/3 of the way up on the photo to keep the focus on what is below it(such as land or water) or position the horizon about 1/3 of the way up on the photo if you want the focus to be on what is above it (the sky.)
Tip#4 -- Frame your subject by using elements in the foreground of your photo to frame the center of interest.
Tip#5 -- Fill the Frame - Allow your subject to dominate the picture. This can also be done by editing later on.
Tip#6 -- Try a New Perspective by shooting vertically rather than horizontally or getting down on pets or kids level when you're shooting them.

Like Meredith did and because I'm also tight on time this week (why I'm posting late on Wednesday night) I went through some of my old pictures to look for examples of composition.

I like this one of Brandi. She's definitely the focus, but the Capitol building makes for a great backdrop. I actually think I shot this in Auto so I'm not sure how I achieved the whole low aperture type shot, but I did.


I came back with a million pictures of the Washington Monument, all set up like this


but on the day of our visit I actually laid down (Hey look! It's a tourist!) for a change in perspective.


With a little editing I filled the frame with my mischievous nephew.


Composition isn't something I think a lot about. Most my pictures are of outings and get togethers. When I have the opportunity to do it though (travel, special events) I do try a little harder.

Next week we'll be halfway through the project and will work on shooting indoors.


  1. I also love the first pic!

    Composition is hard when you're doing casual groups and parties--I just try to make sure that there isn't something that looks like it's sticking out of someone's head or something!


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