Tim's Photo Magazine

Timely editorials on the world of photography plus camera and equipment reviews from a "user" rather than "technical" viewpoint.

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Location: Bovey, Minnesota, United States

My interest in photography goes back to my first camera, a crummy plastic Diana that took 120 roll film and took horrid photos (who knew these bad photos would be considered "art" years later). Then I swiped my Mom's Instamatic when she wasn't looking. Dad was/is a photo buff which I'm sure had a big influence on me! I was the only student in my high school shooting for the yearbook, went on to shoot semi-professional since, doing it more as a hobby business than anything else. I've used thousands of different cameras, collect them today, and enjoy both film and digital. I still use and maintain my own black and white darkroom. I've got lots to say about cameras, the business, copyrights, and all this fancy digital stuff.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's The Photographer, Not The Camera!

I ran into this photo in an online photo sale, and had to grab it because it so perfectly demonstrates a bad photograph.

You always here people say things like "If I just had a better, newer, fancier, etc. camera..." Then someone always comes along and says "It's not the camera that makes a good photograph, it's the photographer." This of course is completely true. You can make amazing photographs with a simple box camera if you take your time, and work within the limitations of the camera.

This photo shows so many things wrong. How many can you come up with? First off we have the classic "tree coming out of the head" trick. Just moving the subject a bit one way or the other would have solved this. Move her a bit away from and in front of the tree, too and gain a little depth to the image. Just to make it interesting we have the popular "shadow of the photographer" off to the left. Remember too, to always check what's in the background. The big ol' trashcan is not helping the scene at all.

Had our photographer moved a bit to the right she could have moved the tree, left out the trash can, and maybe even got her own shadow out of the shot. Raising the camera a bit, or even lowering it would have also moved the horizon off the same line as the top of the chain link fence. This is how you make better pictures without a lot of work or an expensive camera. Take a moment and look at all the elements in the frame and see what's going on! It wouldn't have hurt to move in closer too. A huge percentage of snapshots like this are always taken with the subject too far from the camera. If you're really trying to include a person and the scene around them, move the subject into the foreground and put the rest of the scene off to the side, and behind. Remember of course to then have your subject facing or looking into the frame, not out of the picture!

I just couldn't resist using this as an example. Look and learn!


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