Choosing a Camera
Taking Good Pictures
Digital Photography Advice
HDR Part 1
HDR Part 2
HDR Part 3 Hellyer Park
HDR Part 4 Uvas Canyon
Santa Teresa Pueblo HDR Sunset
HDR Sunset Norred Trail
Bay Area Back Pages
Bay Area Biking
Area Rec. & Travel Home
Bay Area Parks
Advice on Taking Good Pictures
Secrets to Good Photos
- Attention to detail
- Proper equipment
Outdoor Photography Advice
- Lighting is everything; find the best lighting.
- Best lighting: morning or afternoon, avoid noon
- Take advantage of clouds, weather, sunset, water
- Shade lens if shooting towards the sun
- For backlit shots, adjust exposure, use fill-in flash,
- Take multiple pictures of each scene, vary angle, framing,
- Hold camera with both hands, brace elbows against body,
- Use tripod/monopod for wildflowers, wildlife, low-light,
- Shoot wildflowers on windless days
- Watch horizon, hold camera level
- Use long exposures for flowing, falling water
- If you’re serious, study the masters: Ansel Adams, Galen
Muench, Rodney Lough, etc.
- Photography means “light drawing.”
- In photography, lighting is everything.
- In indoor photography, you make your lighting.
- In outdoor photography, you choose your lighting.
- Great pictures require great lighting.
- Mid-day lighting, the good:
- Best for beginners with simple cameras.
- Brightest light of the day, most accurate color.
- Can use fastest shutter speed = less motion blur.
- Can use smaller aperture = greater depth of field.
- Easiest to focus and auto-focus.
- Less shadows, easier to expose properly.
- Less chance of lens flare.
- Most activities happen mid-day.
- Some flowers only open in mid-day sun.
- Mid-day lighting, the bad:
- Harsh lighting
- Can’t capture extreme dynamic range
- Lighter colors get washed out
- Flat lighting: scenes lack depth
- Shadows on faces are unflattering
- Avoided by experts, pros: pictures look ordinary,
- Better lighting
- Golden Light: within an hour of dawn, sunset, best for
- Pre-dawn, dusk, for unique landscapes
- Open shade, best for portraits
- Light overcast, good for flowers
- Stormy weather, for dramatic landscapes
Photo Composition Tips
- Decide on picture’s purpose, message
- Keep it simple, concentrate on subject
- Get close to subject
- Use wide angle for landscapes
- Use “rule
- Direction of movement into picture
- Diagonals add dynamism, depth
- Watch your shadow, don’t get it in picture
- Avoid/hide distracting elements
- Watch your horizon, keep camera level
- Frame picture with foreground objects
- Use contrast – light, color, texture
- Balance objects
- Portrait/landscape orientation based on subject
- Sense of depth
Tips for Photographing
- People add interest, sense of scale
- Use mild telephoto for portraits (2X magnification)
- Watch background behind people (poles behind heads)
- Don’t pose subjects staring into sun
- Overcast day, open shade, or backlit with fill-in is best
- For portraits, concentrate on face, avoid background clutter
- Winter: storm clouds, clear views, snow, winter sports,
- Spring: green hills, wildflowers, creeks, waterfalls
- Summer: outdoor sports, mountains, gardens, beaches,
- Fall: autumn leaf colors
Gallery: Photo Advice
Click on the thumbnails below for bigger pictures, use your browser's
button to return.:
|What's wrong with this
tilted, overposed, motion blur, tree growing out of subject's head,
is dead center, trash can in picture, cluttered background, picture has
no clear point or purpose
||Watch background behind
||Use of "rule of thirds,"
interest, sense of scale
|Use of natural objects to
||Use of light-dark contrast
the main subject
||Foreground objects add a
sense of depth.
|Use of color variety, contrasts
||Use of foreground people in a long shot to provide
depth, scale, interest
||Use of telephoto with wide aperture opening blurs the
|Shooting portraits with subjects looking into the sun
and harsh contrasts
||Shooting portraits in the shade provides softer
||Backlit portrait with flash fill prevents underexposure
or overexposure of background
|Late afternoon lighting adds warm cast and long shadows
||Cloud picture: primary subject is the cloud pattern.
Clouds can add
interest and variety to any outdoor shot.
||Sunsets can provide dramatic lighting and coud
formations, but exposure
is tricky. Take mulitple shots with different exposures.
|Use of long exposure for flowing water gives a soft,
Use a tripod. Experiment with different exposure times.
||Effect of Polaroid filter (right): darkens sky, removes
blue cast from
hills and vegetation
||Effect of Polaroid filter (right): cuts reflection on
seeing more underwater
Created by Ronald Horii 9/14/05, revised 5/26/10