Take great photos


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How to take great photos


The old Chine proverb says: ďa picture can tell more then a thousands wordsĒ, so I will use several of my own pictures to illustrate these hints.  Most of these pictures combine some of the hints.


You can click on the thumbnail to see the larger picture

or more easy click on the link under the last row of pictures on this page.

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Use different kind of formats to keep you pictures interesting, landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical), square or panoramic. Use your zoom to catch the interesting part of the scene and/or crop your pictures afterwards. A good and free program for this is: Irfanview



Horizontal (landscape) and panorama

For more information about panoramic pictures see: Virtual Journey



Square, vertical (portrait) and panorama

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Most people take too much on one picture. Donít make your picture a puzzle. Guide the eye of the watcher to the most important part of the picture. Give a point where the eye can rest.



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The real world is 3D, pictures are 2D, so you have to use some Ďtricksí to create an illusion of depth in your pictures. Use a foreground to make the pictures more interesting. Also diagonal lines can give an illusion of depth to a picture. In landscapes put in the horizon on 1/3 or 2/3, not in the middle.



Foreground and background



Diagonal lines

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Repeated objects can cause interesting effects.



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Change your viewpoint according the situation. E.g. for photographing children go low. A low viewpoint can Ďdramatiseí a scene, a high viewpoint (a birds eye view) can be good to give a total impression of a situation.



Low-high viewpoint

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If you take pictures of people then donít cut their feet, get them in total or take close-ups. Zoom in for taking portraits else you will get distortion (too big nose). Especially watch the background also, keep it neutral. Donít make these endless boring series of your family for this and that, if you want to show your pictures to others.

I was surprised that e.g. being at the Golden Buddha in Bangkok, 99,9 % of the people took their family before this Golden Buddha and used flash, which completely distorts the atmosphere. And although most flashes donít go further then about 3 meter (10 feet), I have seen a lot of people trying to light out complete temples.


The advantage of having a strong zoom (10-30 times optical) is that you can take pictures of people from a distance, without them noticing that.


It is important to keep your camera steady, when you use your zoom or a long shutter time in low light situations. It is important to press the camera against your face, holds your arms against your breast and hold your breath. The way most people use their camera by watching, with stretched arms, their LCDís in front of them is NOT the way to do this. So it is an advantage as you camera has a good EVF (Electronic View Finder).

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The best time of taking pictures is the morning or evening. The light is warm and the shadows are longer. From 11:00 till 15:00 the light is bluish, cool and the shadows are short.


The best light is mostly side or backlight. It gives shadows and contrast to a scene, which makes it more interesting. Donít use front light in taking pictures of people; they will squeeze their eyes. 



Best time and light

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Donít use a flash if possible. It will distort the whole atmosphere with unnatural artificial light. By holding your camera steady or using a tripod with longer shutter times the atmosphere of the object is much better captured and also you will not disturb people. You can use a flash as fill-in in high contrast situation



NO flash!!!


>> 100 examples with hints to inspire you to take great photos <<


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And the last, but most important one: before showing your pictures to anyone, carefully select them. The great advantage of a digital camera is that you can make several shots of difficult objects. Later simple delete the not great ones. With a lot of software it is easily possible to make slideshows with music, which can be played on your computer or DVD player. In this case try to make a little story in your slideshow (as in a movie) and vary your shots from totals to half totals to Close Upís. An example is: Around Bangkok Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Add titles to finish your project.


Some interesting links about taking great pictures:

Taking Great Pictures

Making Photographs

Digital Photography FAQ



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