Observing Your Surroundings Leads to Better Pictures

May 20, 2014

There is definitely an art form to getting a good photography. Yes, it helps to have good equipment. I outlined some Canon and Nikon DSLRs to Consider For Your Photography a couple of months ago if you are looking to upgrade your equipment. Today I’m going to discuss a couple of recent sunset shots posted to the Graphics Unleashed Facebook Page. Neither of these were taken with a DSLR, yet they are pictures that are well-liked.

One flavor of picture that I take quite often is the sunset outside of our office. Part of the credit for these pictures has to go to Mother Nature for providing some awesome sunsets. Often the best shots were not planned much in advance. I’ll look out the window and notice the sky is colorful. Once I go outside, I’ll look around for something interesting.

In the photo above (those of you reading via e-mail will have to click the link or view this post on the Web site), I really liked the shape of the cloud. In some ways, it providing a dividing line between the orange shades in the sky and the blue shades. Often I’ll zoom in and out until the photo contains only the elements I desire. Since the colors of a sunset are constantly changing, I might take a few shots a minute apart.

The above picture was taken with a point and shoot camera. It takes decent quality picture, but it is by no means a great camera. After pictures are taken, I’ll often do some editing. Some suggestions were covered in Secrets to Perfecting Your Product Shots. In the case of sunsets, I love to use an HDR tool to bring out the most color. HDR Software Tools Redux and Photomatix Pro 4 covered some of these tools and it was indeed Photomatix Pro 4 that was used for the above shot.

In the next picture, I wasn’t even thinking about taking the picture. I had just finished dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and found the colors in the sky to be amazing as I was walking to my car. The only camera I had with me was a smartphone.

Even though I didn’t have a fancy camera, I was still able to get a good shot. Once again, I looked at my surroundings to frame the shot. As I was in the parking lot of a strip mall, my options were limited. I’m sure the folks at Ace Hardware loved the fact how they signage was prominent in the photo. If they want to send me some free tools for the picture, that would be awesome.

The next time you see something that you want to capture in a photograph, stop and think for even a few seconds before pressing the button. Frame the picture. Zoom in or out to capture the parts of the scene that are important. Those few extra seconds you use to plan the photo can make a huge difference. Then do some minor editing to the photo afterwards and you’ll be all set!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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