Wanda Merritt Anthony

Wanda Merritt Anthony

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thank You Digital

Back in the day I used to cringe when somebody brought out a photo album.  I knew what was in store and was never proven wrong.  These albums contained a collection of mostly horrific snapshots that never should have been seen by anyone.  I've come to the conclusion people kept these monstrosities because by golly they'd payed for them.  Back then they would have bought the film and flash, took the film to the processor, and waited for their pictures, either one hour or a few days.  It's no wonder people keep most of them.

You know the pictures I mean, we've all seen them.  Lets use some familiar photo ops as examples. 

Family with Christmas Tree in Background.  First shot; flash didn't go off.  Second shot; toddler is on the floor kicking and red faced.  Third shot; Dad is in the process of picking up said toddler, so the shot is blurry.  Fourth shot, flash glares off Grandpa's glasses and/or the mirror in the shot.  Fifth shot; someone has his/her eyes closed.  Sixth shot: finally a keeper!

On Vacation.  Here we are in front of Cinderella's Castle, The Grand Canyon, Hollywood sign, etc.  First shot; photographer's finger is in front of the lens.  Second shot; random person walks directly in front of the camera, ruining the picture.  Third shot; somebody wasn't ready.  Fourth shot; somebody blinked, sneezed, was looking away.  Fifth shot: a keeper! 

School Performance.  First shot, second shot.....all shots; you can't see the stage very well but the heads of the people in front of you are very well illuminated.  There is one and only one cure for this in still photography.  Get up and move close to the stage and take your pictures.  A powerful flash will light up 20-30 feet in front of it.  Chances are you are sitting farther back than that.

Small Children and Pets.  Shot one, and most others;  because the tall adult is towering over the child or pet the subject looks smashed and squat.  The photographer should get on the same level as the person or animal being photographed.  Sit on the floor where the action is or put the child in a chair or have someone hold the pet.  Your pictures will look much better.

Light Source Behind Subject.  Shot one, and probably all others, subject is dark while background is light.  Moving your subject is the best remedy.  If that isn't possible use the flash, even if you're outside.  The extra light from the flash will help illuminate your subject.

Digital cameras have gone a long way in improving peoples photography and photo albums.  Now the photographer can see what the shot will look like before it's snapped.  If a picture is bad, no great loss, just delete it and retake.   I looked through some Facebook friends photo albums for this post and was pleasantly surprised.  Most pictures were good.  I have to chalk that up to the digital age.  First they decided to keep only the good ones.  Second they were selective in which pictures to upload.  Thank goodness uploading takes a little time.

I'll talk about Video in my next blog.

Happy Shooting.

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