Good thread on photography theory
- If your digital camera has a “histogram” feature, make friends with it. Ansel Adams’ “Zone System” is all about manipulating contrast curves to capture the shadow detail and the highlight detail, and when the scene was too high contrast, to consciously decide what throw away.
- If it doesn’t have a histogram feature, make friends with the closest thing you’ve got to a spot meter. Learn how far under and how far over your camera catches detail.
- Know this, then learn to trust the automatic metering. Don’t always be an exposure geek.
- Learn about The Golden Mean. If you can’t assimilate all that, approximate with “2/5ths”, and try to put points of detail on those places in the photo.
- Some people think that the eye scans into frame on the upper left side, goes across to the right, down, back left, up, and then exits the frame just below that point. Try to set up the lines and dominant shapes in your images to encourage that flow. When that gets boring, try to make the eye scan a different path. Remember The Golden Mean as you do this.
- Backlight. This counteracts everything you’ve ever been told about taking pictures with people in them, but once you understand exposure, make sure that people are always standing with their backs to the sun. Give them halos. See the light through their hair. When necessary, use fill flash, even in the middle of the day.
- Light from the side or the bottom. Yes, I know, I said “backlight”, but people like images that show them things they don’t normally see. They always see light overhead.
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