Photoshop is now one of the major computer programs around. The basis of it all, however, is the photographic image. Very often the quality of the original image can get overlooked or can be considered unimportant.
We hear sentences like: "Oh that'll do - we'll fix it later in Photoshop".
Perhaps it can, but starting off with a better photograph in the first place can save a lot of trouble later.
Well begun is half done. Here is the first of a series of tips to improve basic photography.
Landscapes are one of the most continually photographed subjects. Impressed by an attractive scene, most people quickly pick up the camera and snap. Unfortunately, the results are all to often disappointing.
The real scene has the direct experience of the sun's warmth, the breeze and general atmosphere. The photograph obviously misses these features.
The real scene also has a depth and the eye moves around the landscape, seeing objects close by and far away, and so deliberately putting some depth into the photograph can make a great difference to the effectiveness of the picture.
A few moments used to select the right viewpoint can be well spent so it's best to avoid shooting too quickly.
Look for ways to give the picture depth with a foreground, mid-ground and distance. This can often be achieved simply by moving one’s position just a few feet.
Standing near a path, hedge, fence or wall which stretches away into the distance will carry the eye from the foreground through to the distance, giving the picture the extra dimension of depth.
Rivers and streams, stretching into the distance, can be used to serve the same function with the added advantage of sparkling with light and reflecting a blue sky.
Whether the photograph is framed to give a vertical picture (portrait format) or horizontal picture (landscape format) will always be dictated by purely visual considerations.
Just what is visually most effective in any particular situation will determine whether we should take a landscape or portrait format photograph.
Street scenes are another popular subject in this category. Streets in villages, old market towns or the endless variety of town scenes in other countries provide a continuous source of interest.
Looking down a street automatically gives the picture a certain depth. Finding a suitable item for the foreground can help this along. This might be such things as a quaint shop front, a market stall, the wing of a car or a person.
In this way, the photograph will have a strong foreground and the street will carry the eye into the picture. But watch out for any rubbish lying around.
In real life, a couple of bin bags can go unnoticed in the general stimulus of a new environment, but they will shout out at you when you see the printed photograph.
So have a strong foreground, as well as the distance, and if possible have subject matter in the foreground, the middle-distance and the far distance.
Looking through an archway or standing by a tree so that the branches frame the picture will give a strong foreground and serve to give the photograph a good impression of the depth there will be in the actual scene.
Other objects can be found in the country to have a similar effect, such as flowering shrubs, gates, pieces of farm machinery or perhaps a charging bull.
* Put depth into the photograph
* Have a strong foreground
* Don't shoot too quickly
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