Sunday, 14 October 2012

Pretty Clicky

"I used to be really photogenic and now I'm not. I think my mug just got ugly" probably has to be one of the best things I've ever heard come out of someone's mouth. I'm pretty sure it was Genie and I cried with so much laughter that I just had to write it down.
I love photography. I love the concept of being able to capture a single second for eternity just by the click of a button. I love fiddling with camera settings and editing on the computer afterwards to just get that perfect shot. I, like many people, just own a simple bog-standard, nothing special digital camera and then also, my darling of all darlings, a vintage 1970s Polaroid film camera. I have it in its original box and me being the clumsy person I am, am so afraid to touch it incase I break something that can't be fixed, so it's rarely used. Plus the film costs an arm and a leg.
The only thing for me is I pretty much detest being photographed. Only about 1 in 1000 photos of me is anywhere near half decent. I squint, I blink, I look like a deer in the headlights so I thought I'd do some research, for you (and well for me too) about getting the perfect shot and getting yourself in the perfect shot.
The primary rule, for any sort of photos is to take more than one. Digital cameras come with ma-hu-sive memory cards so there's no reason not to be snap happy. And the benefit of digitals is that you can easily delete all the terrible ones. If you're having a photo taken, don't feel embarrassed to ask the person with the camera to take a few. If I'm in London and a tourist asks me to take a photo, I'll always take 3 or 4, just incase. Quite a few cameras come with a continuous shutter option so it will take a number of photos at speed so you can easily get the best shot and delete the rest.
Proportions are important. You need to remember that whatever is closest to the camera will be largest. If you're taking a photo of yourself, hold the camera at arm’s length and then tilt it down slightly. Your head, shoulders and upper body will seem larger and then your hips and butt smaller in proportion. I would never hold the camera out and down, tilting upwards because then, again, whatever's closest to the camera will seem largest. You'll have a massive chest and chin and not much else.
Change your angles around. You don't always have to be stood in exactly the same position, straight on to the camera. Try and find “your best side". Plus, standing slightly angled to the camera will make you appear slimmer as the side of your body generally isn't as wide as the front or back. If you're taking the photo, move around the subject. Change where you stand or how far you zoom. And if you're taking a photo of yourself, move the camera around, hold it above your head, out in front of you, to the side. Give yourself options and you may be surprised with the outcome.
Beware of editing software. Don't do anything drastic. I tend to only use it to blend out spots, check how the image would look in black and white or sepia and check my brightness/contrast ratios. I wouldn't suggest using filters or doing any over the top editing where you end up looking like a Martian. The whole point of photos is that they're supposed to be that stunning anyway that they should just need minor touch ups. Over editing can ruin a good photo.
I hope that these are useful and if anyone else has any tips they will be much appreciated to stop me looking like a startled mongoose. But remember, photos are works of art and even if they don't come out how you want them, just lie and tell everyone it was meant to look like that. That's what Impressionism is after all.

Each of these pictures are personal favourites of mine. They show how a bog standard camera can capture some incredible shots.

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