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Monday, August 18, 2008

10 Ingredients For Successful Images

A digital recipe for smokin’ photos

This Article Features Photo Zoom

If you're in the mood to cook up some sumptuous photographs, here's a quick 10-step recipe that I think you'll find appetizing. To illustrate this article, I'll use photographs that I took on a recent trip to Papua New Guinea. While some of you may not get to (or may not want to go to) that exotic destination, the same ingredients can be used to create images that will quench your photographic thirst in any location. Let's dig in!

1. Interesting Subject
I know it sounds simple, but having an interesting subject, such as this Huli Wigman posed by a remote waterfall, is important in the making of a good photograph. A photo of me watering my lawn in my shorts wouldn't be as interesting as this exotic-looking image. Seek out interesting subjects, and they will draw interest to your photographs.

2. Good Composition
A well-balanced photograph is like a well-balanced meal-very satisfying. Placing the main subject off-center is usually more interesting than dead-center. Experiment with positioning the subject in different areas of the frame to find the best composition for a particular scene. Also, carefully compose your pictures so that the background elements complement the main subject.

3. Creative Crop
Getting the best possible crop in-camera is a good idea. Sometimes that's not possible, however, because of the lens you're using or the camera-to-subject distance. What's more, after you take a picture, you may see a picture within a picture, making cropping in Photoshop required. I like the full-frame image of these sing-sing (festival) performers. However, the tighter crop draws more interest to the main subject, as well as cropping out the spectators in the background on the left side of the frame.

4. Careful Focus
Just because you have an autofocus camera doesn't mean that the camera knows where to focus. Use the AF focus points in your camera carefully and make sure the most important part of the scene is in focus. When it comes to a person or an animal, the main focus point usually is the eyes. Don't overlook the importance of the focus lock feature, which let's you lock in the focus on a particular part of the scene, after which you can recompose the scene and take the picture.


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