Sep 20 2009

Taking Vacation Photos

Published by at 1:55 pm under General

It’s a great idea to take along a digital camera when you travel. Good shots really depend on how you see what you see. The results might delight you.

Shooting What You See

Sometimes you might have taken a photo that looked good in real life but didn’t look so great on the computer. The type or focal length of the lens could have been the reason for this. The human eye sees in a field of vision 40 degrees wide. Evaluate this rule against a scene like a landscape. Without moving your eyes to either side, note what you are seeing. Compare how this scene appears through the camera. Notice how some scenic elements are excluded now, or some are now perhaps included. You can use the zoom function to frame the image the way you see it unaided. Trial and error will allow you to work this out until you’ve established which zoom setting will give the same as the view through your eyes.


Composition is the art of ‘framing’ the photograph or arranging the elements so that it draws the viewer’s eye to what you want seen or noticed. Here are some basic rules of composition:

1. The Eye Scans Diagonally

The eye usually scans automatically from bottom right of a picture diagonally across to the top left. You can get some idea of this by taking any picture you have in your files and flipping it horizontally with your photo editing software. Different elements gain more attention depending which way you flip the image. Taking portrait photos is one place where this rule can be used to good effect.

Position the subject turned away from the camera about 45 degrees. Let him rest his hands together on his thighs. Keeping his body in that pose, get him to look at you by moving his head. This is called a three-quarter pose. Have a look now at the image through the camera lens. Notice that your eye looks first at the hands and they guide it to the subject’s face. After you have taken the photo, upload it into your photo editing software and use the ‘flip horizontal’ function. Which view communicates most effectively?

You can get a good idea of how this rule works by looking through a book of photographs. Photographers and artists use this rule, arranging some element in the lower right hand corner that guides the eye to the subject – a color, shape, or line that gives the direction. This rule can also be broken to produce a jarring effect.

2. Frame the Photograph

The edges of a photograph are like the fence around a house. These give the space definition. Mount one of your pictures in a frame and you’ll see this effect. This gives better definition to the entire picture. This principle can be used if you position the subject near trees, in doorways, looking out a window, etc. You can break this rule profitably by deliberately choosing a neutral scene as background. Without any other elements in the picture, the eye is automatically drawn to the person.

Framing to include enough of the background to add mood will make for a better picture. Sometimes the background can be cluttered, or includes strong shapes that overwhelm the subject. These are best avoided, if possible. By including the background, however, you can tell a better story. Frame your picture with these questions in mind
This is what location?
Who this is?
Why are they in that location or scene?
What are the subjects doing?

The Rule of Thirds

This rule divides the image into thirds horizontally and/or vertically. The main subject should appear in the middle section. Or be positioned at the intersection points of the two grids. A landscape is usually broken down into top third: sky, middle third: subject. The bottom third or foreground acts as a foundation to the subject.

Most portraits are composed vertically, half to three quarter length. If you imagine the frame to be divided into thirds from top to bottom, the face appears where the top and center sections meet each other. In this way you get ‘breathing room’ above the subject, which results in a better look. Also this achieves a balanced arrangement.

Sometimes a feeling of intensity and immediacy can be created by close-ups.

In photography, the more you shoot the better you get. Shoot a lot of shots, then analyze both the good – and the bad. Expect to learn the basics of this rewarding hobby quite quickly.

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