In part 2 of the photography tips article we will address color and exposure. Digital cameras and even your basic film cameras have traditionally controlled both of these functions. By learning how to control these functions and the impact they can have on your images will help you improve the final photograph. The better your images look the more likely they will sell on Fotolia.com
In the case of film cameras photographers can spend hours evaluating what film will give the most powerful color saturation, or natural looking skin tones knowing that not all film is alike. But taking a good color photograph goes beyond the film choice or digital camera used.
Exposure is often forgotten today with automatic cameras. We “point and click” allowing the camera to decide what the aperture and shutter speed should. In most cases these cameras make decisions based on a preprogrammed reference called “middle gray” set by the camera company. If the subject is darker or lighter than the reference then the camera adjusts accordingly. That means if you try to photograph white snow on the automatic setting you will get a dark gray looking picture. The reverse is true as well. If you photograph a black car the final image may look more gray than black.
To improve your images I suggest the following tips
Consider Color – Color is more than shooting color film or boasting the color in Adobe Photoshop. Consider how your colors interact in an image. Are the colors warm (red, yellow) or cold (blues, purples,)? Do you have one dominant color? To create bold emotions consider using contrasting colors like a yellow shirt against a blue wall. Or you can choose to have a monotone calm image by capturing the predawn blue light of a field. Thinking about the use of color in all your images will improve your photographs.
Black and White – Black and White images convey a fine art quality or even a more historical look. Most digital cameras and even software programs will allow you to change your images to a black and white image. If an image doesn’t work as a color image try a black and white or sepia color (slight brownish tone). Without the wow factor and sometimes distracting elements of color, the subject, lighting, and contrast become even more important to your image.
A for Auto – With the technology of digital cameras improving we all fall victim (myself included) to the Auto exposure feature on the camera. Auto exposures do make great pictures but we turn all mechanical control over to the computer. It will make decisions about what should be in focus, what should be dark and what should be light. If we move away from Auto we take back the control. I suggest that you try a few shots either in manual if your camera has this feature or at least try the other 20 exposure features offered by your camera.
Fill Flash – Fill flash is normally discussed within a section on lighting but I suggest it here to also improve your Exposure. Many digital cameras and some film cameras have a fill flash function. It is usually different than your standard flash feature. Fill flash emits out just enough light to fill in the shadows of a properly lit scene. I find it helpful with outdoor pictures. Often outdoor pictures under bright sunshine create distracting shadows under a person’s eyes. With fill flash on those shadows are minimized and the image becomes more pleasing to the viewer.
I hope these suggestions help you improve your photographs. The last and final part of this article Part 3 will discuss Focus, Depth of Field, and Lighting. Please refer to Part 1 of this article to learn about Composition. For more information on selling you work on Fotolia.com please click here.