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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : opinions : columns April 28, 2016


8/14/2012 10:50:00 AM
Guest Column: Inside information on how to shoot better photos
Todd Roth
NHO

I taught a class on behalf of the Winslow Arts Council July 21. This class was held at La Posada Hotel and the students were supposed to make interesting images showing the exterior of the hotel. The series of images were supposed to include close-ups, medium and wide views. This is the general range of photos you would need to submit if you were reporting on the hotel exterior. And it's good practice for anyone wanting to get better images.

A secret I'll divulge about finding photo worthy-images when you have just taken a photo that you like: The fact that you are looking at something photogenic might mean that you are in a great spot for more. So the best and simplest technique is to remain in the spot where you are and slowly rotate 360 degrees, looking to see what else might be seen and photographed right here. Do that before moving away in search of another image.

Another handy reference idea is that "if your photograph is not good enough you are not getting close enough." That sentence is a basic photo guide and can be used in almost every instance. What you do is take a photo and then keep moving closer as you take more. You might find that the original was just fine or you might find that getting closer really shows better than what you saw initially.

When making a photo of a person, it's best to stand back and use a telephoto lens. This helps to present them in the most pleasing manner. A wide-angle lens used on a person's face makes an unpleasant distortion. That's why photos of models are usually done from a distance, making them look thinner than they would if they were photographed from a closer viewpoint.

Photo philosophy and why you do what you do

What do you see and why do you take a photo of it? Something to ask yourself as you prepare to make a photo. "What is it about what I am seeing that's important and after you answer, make sure that that "important thing" is made large in the frame. When you photograph something, you give it dignity.

A family group. An individual in an interesting location. A grand vista? A special place or building? To document damage? Keep an image of baby, child or youngster in place in time? Keep an image of older person while they are still here? Preserve the beauty of plants and flowers? Sunsets with vivid colors?

Many other things or moments you preserve are images of value to you alone. Satisfy yourself first. Think about why you are drawn to make a photograph. And use photography as a way to explore the world not just your small corner of it. Photography is a vehicle to carry you new places, in order to see things you never imagined.


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