Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Simple Photography Tips

This is a photo of mine taken in Bali back in 2005 - about one month after the island was struck by terrorists. On the background is a magnificent valcano known as Gunung Batur (Mt. Batur). I requested a French tourist to take this picture for me.

People usually hold camera in horizontal position (landscape mode) when they take pictures. Additionally, they often place the 'subject' in the center of the frame. This is not always the best composition.

Back to the photo shown above. I asked the French man to compose the picture in a certain way. In turned out that he was a decent photographer and immediately understood what I wanted.

In this picture, the subject is me and the background is the valcano. The subject is on the left while the background is on the right. Should the French man placed the subject in the center, as most people would, the background would be blocked or squeezed to the edge, which isn't so great.

I also set the flash to On before passing the camera to the French man. If the flash was set to Auto, it would not have fired and the subject would be underexposed, i.e. dark.

How can this picture be improved? Well, the background is slightly overexposed, i.e. too bright. Many cameras have this function called Exposure Compensation or Exposure Value. Should I dial in a negative Exposure Value of say, -1/3, I would have got a better picture. I didn't retake the picture because I didn't want to give too much trouble to the kind French tourist.

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