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Photography Tips

All the best digital art starts with a great photograph. Have fun out there with your cameras and use YOMA's Photography Tips to help you get the best shot every time!

1) Decide what your photo will ultimately be used for. What’s its purpose?

Are you considering uploading a picture of yourself to Facebook or a dating site? Do you want to give the picture as a gift to Mom and Dad? Or do you want the image to be a CD cover for your next album? Each situation will demand different considerations from the shooter.

A Facebook photo can be smaller in size with fewer pixels; Mom and Dad will probably want to enlarge and print your photo so a larger, more detailed and artfully composed base shot will be necessary. Similarly, a CD cover or poster may require a lot of digital photo manipulation, so you’ll need to provide a larger file with lots of information to get the best results.

2) Pre-visualize how you want your photo to look.

Pre-visualization means having the picture already composed in your mind's eye, and then finding the elements you need to create it. Let's say that you want a gangster shot of yourself.

You could look at other iconic gangster photos and imitate the mood and the dress. Maybe a local bar or abandoned warehouse has the background elements you have pre-visualized in your imagination. If you see hard, direct shadows and grainy lighting, try getting that effect by standing near a window in a darkened room.

3) Assess the shooting conditions.

You can only work with the tools you've got. Bring your expectations into line with what your situation presents you with. Is there sufficient light, or do you need a flash? Do you need to go wide to get all the background information, or do you move in for a portrait shot?

Consider things like buildings in the background and passersby on the street. Things like street lamps and lit signs can really throw off the exposure of your subject, and a glamour shot won’t look quite so glamorous with a jeep zooming by in the background.

4) Anticipate the critical moment.

No matter how hard you think, plan, control, or manipulates the situation, some shots are just gifts of fate. After setting up the tripod and composing the shot, a photographer grasps luck by her fickle tail and shoots three or four shots in quick succession at the critical moment. That added dimension is anticipation, which is most clearly illustrated in sports photography. Don't follow the puck around the ice in order to get that award-winning goal shot.

If you see the breakaway and you see the defense is weak, break from the action and get your lens on the net before the players get there. Start clicking off a series of shots a bit before and a few after, and hopefully somewhere in those eight shots is the goalie all limbs in the air, and the puck entering the net!

5) Edit and select the final shot.

You have pre-visualized your shot, you have created the ideal conditions, and you have teased Lady Luck by trying to guess how the situation will move and flow. Now you have a handful of shots—but which one to choose?

The solution is to consider each image in turn and re-ask yourself if it answers the criteria you set out for yourself before starting to shoot. Does it have the glam-factor for my dating site? Does the image have the conciseness and impact for my album cover? Is the image clean and sufficiently lit for photo manipulation?

In the next article we look at Five Things to Consider When Composing Your Shot!