The Basics of Good Photography

Before we talk about great photography, let's look at the common sense basics of good photography.

BE AWARE OF THE DETAILS

The number one problem that mars many amateur pictures is that the photographer is so intent on the central subject he doesn't pay attention to other details. You need to be aware that everything you see in your viewfinder will likely be in your photo. Particularly, be sure to look for the following:

■ Are objects sprouting from your child's head, such as a telephone pole?

■ Do other lines and objects intersect with the central subject in a distracting manner? (See Figure 12-1a)

■ Who or what is in the background and foreground, in the corners and along the edges? Are you sure you want all that in your photo? (See Figure 12-1a.)

■ Check just beyond the periphery of your composition. Is anything you don't want in your picture about to enter it, such as a person walking into your scene?

If you see anything in your viewfinder that shouldn't be in your photo, move, and take the photo from another angle. (See the next section.)

Figure 12-1a: This photo of Daniel has several extraneous elements that distract from the composition. (A) A plaque in the background wall is growing out of his head. (B) The upper edge of the booth behind him intersects with his cheeks. What makes this particularly unappealing is that the bench dramatically contrasts with the rest of the background, drawing the viewer's eye to it. (C) The edge of a banner pulls the eye to the upper-right corner.

Figure 12-1a: This photo of Daniel has several extraneous elements that distract from the composition. (A) A plaque in the background wall is growing out of his head. (B) The upper edge of the booth behind him intersects with his cheeks. What makes this particularly unappealing is that the bench dramatically contrasts with the rest of the background, drawing the viewer's eye to it. (C) The edge of a banner pulls the eye to the upper-right corner.

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