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Galleries Monthly

Members’ Gallery – April 2021

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Galleries Photoshoot

March 2021 – 3 fruits

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Galleries Monthly

Members’ Gallery – March 2021

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Assignments

Christmas 2020 Assignment

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Galleries Monthly

Members’ Gallery – February 2021

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Camera Tips

Composition Hints

Here are a few basic composition hints

  • Imagine your view finder split into 9 rectangles by two vertical gridlines and two horizontal gridlines. Try and position key parts of your subject on the “thirds” of a picture (where the gridlines intersect). These are the ‘sweet spots’ to which the eye is naturally drawn
  • A good picture should “tell a story” immediately.
  • Crop! Crop! Crop! What doesn’t help hinders.
  • Get in close to your subject. Fill the frame (but remember cut-off by viewfinder and processors).
  • Watch out for distractions on the edge of the picture eg light patches, electric sockets, fire extinguishers etc.
  • Light in the early morning or late evening is often best, creating shadows, silhouettes and emphasizing textures. Light directly overhead is often ‘flat’ leading to ‘bland’ photographs. Don’t be afraid of shooting against the light, but if you do, carefully consider your exposure settings.
  • Use Advancing (warm) & receding (cool) colours – to your advantage. The advancing colours eg; Reds, yellows, violets and terracottas create a warm cosy compact feel, the cooler receding colours eg; light blues and greys make the space feel bigger.
  • Try framing the picture with trees, arches, or other shapes.
  • Use differential focus and depth of field, where the photographer chooses to have part of a photograph ‘in focus’ and part of it ‘out of focus’ – to “lose” or “blur” backgrounds or foregrounds. This technique removes distracting details / objects and permits the eye to concentrate on the key subject matter of the photograph.
  • Use natural lines to “lead the eye in” to key parts of the picture. (eg; roads & paths, fencing lines, hand rails etc)
  • Consider using portrait format, not always landscape.
  • You can “lose” an uninteresting ‘middle ground’ by using a low viewpoint.
  • Pack couples or groups closely together in posed people pictures.
  • In landscapes, look for some foreground interest, eg perhaps a boulder or a person, to give depth to the picture.
  • Don’t have skylines / horizons centred horizontally across the middle of a picture (ie; have different proportions at the top and the bottom of the picture eg; one third to two thirds). Keep skylines and horizons level! (NB; this can often be corrected in photo post processing)
  • If you have an uninteresting featureless plain sky without cloud definition, include only the minimum in your composition.

A good big ‘un always beats a good little ‘un!

We recommend the following video

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Exercises

Focus Exercise

Preparation

Read the parts of your camera manual on focusing and close-up (macro or flower setting) and become familiar with how your ‘auto’ focus and ‘focus points’ operate (if fitted)

  • With ½ pressure on shutter release watch the camera autofocus. Does it beep when focused? Can you switch the beep off?
  • Find out how to adjust where your camera focuses ( eg; multi-spot/single centre spot?) Does it focus on the nearest part of the subject?
  • Find out if your camera has manual focus capability. This is useful in certain circumstances where background items can ‘fool’ the camera to focus incorrectly.
  • Compact camera users: Try out the macro (flower symbol) control for close up photographs. Cancel macro after use.
  • DSLR Users: Find out how close you can focus. Does it vary with different lenses?
  • How does your camera tell you you’re too close? (light/beep?)
  • Compact users: Use the ‘tele’ setting to get better out-of-focus backgrounds ie; creating a shallow depth of field.
  • DSLR Users: Set a wide aperture (low f/Number)and/or use a long lens to create depth of field and blur backgrounds
  • Try moving the focus point in your camera if fitted, this is usually a small rectangle visible in the viewfinder that can be moved around the viewfinder and will create a ‘focus point’ at the part of the subject where the rectangle is situated.

Exercise *

  • Take two hand-held photos, with and without macro (flower symbol) control as close up as possible for an in-focus image. What is the difference in the distances and in the depth of field?
  • Repeat the previous step with the camera on a tripod (or on a firm surface) so you can assess the effect of camera shake.
  • If your camera supports it, adjust the focus point and repeat one of the choices above (DSLR users can do this. Compact users may not be able to.)
  • Compare the various images (view on PC). How do sharpness and depth of field vary? How can you use this knowledge?

*Write down your choices so you know which images correspond to each setting. Where (view on PC) is shown this part may have to be completed later.

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Exercises

Exposure Exercise

Preparation

To understand how exposure is affected by aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, see camera exposure [new window]

Read the part of your camera manual on exposure (Some compact cameras may have none of these – but don’t worry!)

  • Check if you have got both automatic and manual exposure control.
  • Check any different metering settings ( eg; evaluative/spot) – these determine the area of your photograph that the camera will take into account when setting its’ exposure.
  • Have you got Full Auto (green) and Program (P) settings?
  • Have you got shutter priority (Tv) or (S) and aperture priority (Av) or (A)?
  • Read about ISO settings (sensitivity of the camera sensor) – these help take better pictures in poor light settings
  • Establish how to adjust the camera aperture settings (f numbers). Small f numbers allow more light into the lens and bigger f numbers less light (this is important when using aperture priority) settings
  • Establish how to change the shutter speed of your camera, this determines the amount of time for which a photograph will be exposed. Note; when using aperture priority you set the aperture and the camera will auto-select the shutter speed and vice versa when using shutter priority.
  • Some cameras have a fully manual setting enabling the photographer to select any combination of shutter speed and aperture they wish
  • Your camera may have ‘exposure compensation’ (+/- ve) – this is very useful to make slight exposure adjustments.

Exercise *

  • Take several photos with a range of exposure settings.
  • Take several photos with a range of ISO settings.
  • Try experimenting with exposure compensation (+/- ve)
  • Try using spot meterings and evaluative (wide area) metering
  • Compare the images (view on PC) for sharpness, depth of field and digital noise. How can you use this knowledge to take better pictures?

*Write down your choices so you know which images correspond to each setting. Where (view on PC) is shown this part may have to be completed later.

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Exercises

Flash Exercise

Preparation

Read the part of your camera manual on flash.

  • Check how flash ‘toggles’ between always-on/off/auto/red-eye. 
  • Red-eye occurs when the flash is in direct alignment with a person’s eyes. Some cameras have red-eye suppression, otherwise it will be necessary to angle the flash out of alignment of a person’s eyes (if adjustable) or to move the position from which you are taking the photograph.
  • Rather than use flash, you may be able to increase the sensitivity of your camera sensor by ‘cranking up’ the ISO setting to higher number values eg; ISO 800, ISO 1200, ISO 3200, etc.

Exercise*

  • Take a couple of photos – one with flash and one without. Compare (view on PC) to see the differences. Which do you prefer? What might you do to get the best of both methods in a picture?
  • Take several pictures of the same object with and without flash at different distances (eg 1 metre, 3 metres, 10 metres, 30 metres – perhaps easier outside). Compare (view on PC) to see the differences. Are any parts overexposed or underexposed? What is the maximum distance for your flash to be useful? Is there a minimum distance?
  • Try taking photos without flash at a high ISO setting and check this with the same photo taken using flash

*Write down your choices so you know which images correspond to each setting. Where (view on PC) is shown this part may have to be completed later.

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Exercises

Other Settings Exercise

Preparation

Read the parts of your camera manual on file size/quality settings/scene modes or creative modes

  • Find out how to set your camera to the best file size/quality settings (Always aim for superfine quality and large file size.)
  • Change the settings if need be (or bring the camera and manual and we will help)
  • Find out what scene/creative modes you have (eg landscape/portrait/snow/night)

Exercise*

  • Take the same photo for several file quality settings, if possible using a tripod. Compare (view on PC) the sharpness of each image by zooming in. Why do they differ?
  • Take the same photo using several scene/creative mode settings, if possible using a tripod. Compare (view on PC) depth of field and colour. How do they differ and how might you use what you have learned?

*Write down your choices so you know which images correspond to each setting. Where (view on PC) is shown this part may have to be completed later.