Photo Cliff Notes
1.) Look at the Light
Photography is light. Study it. Make it work for you. There are three aspects
of light you should understand. Know these!
Hard Light/Soft Light.
has sharp shadows, soft light has no shadows. Clouds, fog, haze, and forest fires diffuses the light which takes away
Look for the shadows! Know what type of light you are shooting in so you can make it work to your advantage.
Think texture. Look for subjects that have texture, and then try to have the light "rake" over that texture ... Nice.
Think Clint Eastwood, old barns, peeling paint, rolling hills ... Whatever.
SOFT LIGHT? Good, now use it. Women, flowers, kids,
puppies, you can't go wrong! Soft light brings out details ... Look for all the soft and fluffy things in your life. Easy.
Hard or soft,
make the light work for you. Period. If you have hard light, but want soft light, good, defuse it. That is why I gave you
all a trash bag. Have soft light, but need hard light? Cool. Light it. That is why I told you to carry a flashlight, or buy
a flash. Blast it! Simple.
Sunrise/sunset. Yellow, orange, and red tones. Nice. Get up early and stay out late.
Cool Light: Pre-Sunrise,
Post-Sunset. Purples, Violets, and Blues. Think mood ... Cold! Think Incandescent White Balance. Get up earlier, stay out
later. Don't pack up after sunset, wait it out ... Wait. Wait ... Yeah, now you get it.
Look for the "mixing of tones"
at sunrise and sunset. Cool/Warm. Beautiful. Magical.
Where is the light coming from and how does it effect the subject?
Front Lighting. The sun behind
you hitting the subject in the front. Old School. Flat lighting. Think Xerox Copies and Driver's License. No texture.
Back Lighting. Very dynamic. Bold. The light coming from behind the subject. Think silhouette. Think (-). Push it
... See what happens.
Side Lighting. Shadows! Brings out texture. A good thing (well, sometimes!). The shadows give
"depth" to the image. 45 degrees is classic. 90 degrees is more creative. Think Cutting Edge ... Gives you a sharp "edge"
between light/dark. Look for side lighting. Look at the shadows. Love it. Use it. Hunt for it.
Tough lighting conditions. Shadows under the eyes, nose, cheek bones, chin. Wearing a hat? Black-Hole under the brim. Need
to use "fill-flash" to "open" those shadows up. But ... Good for water shots - Think Aruba! The light dives down deep into
the water ... Also, good for shooting in the forests, and is actually the best time for exploring Slot Canyons out west! Sweet.
Also ... And
very important, it is a great time to eat lunch. Go to a movie. Research sites for later on, e-mail your mom, or take a nap.
Got to love "bad" lighting.
Evil. Think Halloween. But ... If used as a gentle "fill light", it can add a
nice touch in portraits. Think Broadway floor lights. Be careful, but try it.
2.) Get Closer
Move in. Zoom in. Fill the frame with only the things you want in your image. Stop, check the edges
of your frame. Study the subject and zoom in on what you think is the most important aspect. Keep it simple. Get Closer!
Simplify. Get rid of the crap!
Again ... Keep it simple.
3.) Take Lots
Work the subject. Move around the subject. Look for different angles. Try different things. It is the little
things that make a BIG difference. An inch to the right, a foot higher, a tilt of the head, a smile, a smirk. Look for the
little details that make the subject unique, special.
Try something different. And then something else. Work the subject. And yes, go back to THE LIGHT! Move around, how
does the light change? Work it. Don't just blast away ... Blast away from different angles! Different settings ... Which takes us to MY THREE BUTTONS.
MY THREE BUTTONS
The most important button!!! Your exposures start with what number you
choose. The quality of the images starts here as well. Think!
The lower the number, the better the quality. Aim
for 100/200 ISO.
More Light: Lower ISO (100/200)
Less Light: Higher ISO (400/800)
Low ISO = Slower Shutter Speeds
High ISO =
Faster Shutter Speeds
Want Blur: Low ISO (100/200)
No Blur: Higher ISO (400/800)
Tripod/Flash: Low ISO
No Tripod/Flash: High ISO
Use the slowest
ISO setting you can get away with while also getting the shutter speed you need. A game you will play forever ...
White Balance Button
the COLOR of an image. Auto is good. But ... You can make your image "cooler"
or "warmer" if you want. Play. You're the artist.
Also ... The "wrong" color, just might turn out
to be the correct color! Who knows? Try it.
The one I use the most.
Let me repeat that ...
one I use the most.
Wear it out! Makes your images
lighter (+) or darker (-). Shoot. Adjust. Shoot again. Repeat. Take several images at different settings ... Who knows? You
just might like the "wrong" one.
If the subject is BLACK ... (-)
subject is WHITE ... (+)
Your camera wants everything to be "mid-tone" (18% Gray), life is not so perfect. Use this button!!!
A lot. You are the artist, be creative. Don't settle for what the "Geek Squad" in Japan thinks is the right exposure. Take
charge of your art!
Play, play, play.
Read this again.
Practice these ideas. Get your camera out. Find these buttons. Get out and shoot.
Think about MY THREE RULES every time you bring the camera to your eye.
Use MY THREE BUTTONS. See how your
camera is effected by these buttons. Take charge of YOUR vision, your "style". That simple.
Get out and shoot. Find your passion -- Then go out and shoot it.
Over and over again.
You MUST use these guidelines to get started.
MUST study this in order to pass the test.
Yes, it really is that simple.