Photo of a stone structure

When taking landscape and scenic photos, there is usually more than one picture contained in the scene that you are photographing. You just have to find them. The best way is to “work the scene.”

Portraits of children present a different challenge.

For a wide variety of reasons, we love taking pictures of people.  Most photos of people are candid, not posed. Posed photographs are more formal and classified as portraits. 

Here are some tips that should help you shoot first-rate portraits.

John Toutkaldjian photo showing converging lines.

Photographers use a number of different methods to create an image that has interest, appeal, and depth. 

One method involves the use of lines:

• Straight lines

• Diagonal lines

• Curvy lines—particularly S-curves

• Converging lines—actually two lines that seem to meet in the distance 

man playing guitar and harmonica

A genre of photography that you see all the time—and may unwittingly perform yourself—is street photography. It gained popularity with the advent of small, portable cameras in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

fall photo of woods and fence

I’m often asked my opinion of a photograph. My answer depends on who’s asking. Is it a stranger, a family member, a casual friend, a photography peer? For most, it’s enough to say, “That’s nice.” A peer is usually looking for more of a critique. 

still life photo

“Photography is an art of observation; it’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.”—Elliott Erwitt, advertising/documentary photographer 

It’s been said that a photographer is an observer, while an artist who paints is an interpreter. I think that’s an over-simplification in the case of the photographer.

horses

To best appreciate a photograph, or any image, view it at the proper distance. What’s the proper distance? Well, an 8” x 10” photo viewed at arm’s length is about right. But if a photo is smaller, hold it closer. If it’s larger, step back or push back in your chair.

fall scene

Fall is my favorite time of year for exterior photography. The air is cool, the sky is textured with clouds, and trees and shrubs burst with color. The monotonous green of summer gives way to brilliant landscapes of yellow, red, ochre, and brown. Autumn is the time for Mother Nature to put on a show.

Photo under a tree with flash

If you plan on taking portraits in sunlight, don’t do it. The best place to take portraits outdoors on a sunny day is out of the sun

Direct sunlight is too bright and causes people to squint. The harsh contrast makes for very unflattering photos. It creates dark shadows under the eyes, nose and neck due to contours of the face.