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August 2007

 
 Photography Help

  
 Here is everything you'll need to know to take your own great pictures, starting with
 the basics:
  
  
 BASICS:
 
 
 
First off, you'll need to get your equipment. For beginners I recommend getting a
 good camera that you're comfortable with [whether it's a point and shoot or SLR,
 film or digital], a large memory card [or lots of film] so you can experiment and take
 many many pictures, and perhaps a tripod [very useful for self portraits & clone
 pictures]. Personally I am a digital-girl because you can take & delete as many
 pictures as you want and it makes editing & sharing pictures much easier.
 Familiarize yourself with all the functions & capabilities. Be sure to read the manual
 all the way through--trust me, it will help a whole lot.  Also, be sure to have an
 organized system for your pictures so you can browse and find pictures easily.
  
  
 COMPOSITION:
 
 
 
When taking pictures, it's helpful to imagine lines. Diagonal lines, for example, create
 a dynamic look in the image. An "S" curve is graceful and easy to look at. Geometric
 shapes (such as triangles) add strength and visual unity to the picture. Balance, the
 arrangement of colors, shapes, and light should all complement each other.
 Nonsymmetrical balance, when two sides of a picture are unbalanced, is more
 interesting to look at than symmetrical balance (when two focal points of the
 picture are equal on both sides of the picture). The Rule of Thirds is a good guideline
 to follow when focusing objects in a photo. It states that the focal point should be
 located in the corners of the picture rather than in the middle of static photograph.
 Another way to focus on a main subject is to frame it nicely in the viewfinder or by
 cropping. Framing allows you to display the center of interest with objects in the
 foreground to give a feeling of depth to the picture.
  
  
 LIGHTING:
 
 
 
Lighting is one of the most important, if not the most important, element of a
 photograph. Get to know the lighting around your house [or wherever you take
 pictures] at different times of the day. Avoid using flash at all possible times-- I'm a
 big hater of flash, as many photographers are, because it makes the picture look
 flat and lifeless. Directional light from the side of the subject [through a window,
 etc.] rather than straight in front give the subject nice shadows and gives it a more
 3-dimensional look. Golden hour, the time around sunrise and sunset, is a great time
 to take pictures outside because it creates a great mix of warm colors and supplies
 lots of directional light that really makes the subject stand out. You can also get
bounce boards, attachable flashes, and special lighting equipment for a studio, but
I would recommend sticking to basic lighting for beginners.
  
  
 PHOTOSHOP/EDITING:
 
 
 
With the advancements of today's technology, it's really great to have editing
 programs that will allow to manipulate and perfect your pictures & help you get
 across the desired message in the picture. I'm most comfortable with Photoshop
 CS2, which is what I will use to explain how to do a few cool things with your
 photos:
 
 CLONE PICTURES: An increasingly popular way to put multiple "you's" into one
 picture. First set up a tripod & set your camera to Self-timer. Take multiple pictures
 of yourself in different positions in different areas of the picture [without moving the
 camera]. Then open the files with Photoshop. Pick the picture of you in the farthest
 back so that any "you's" in front of you will overlap. Cut and paste each "you" out of
 their own picture and into that picture, erasing the background around your body
 if needed to make yourself fit precisely. Flatten the image [Ctrl+E when under the
 layers palette] and save!
 
 
 
EYE COLORS: To make your eyes any color you desire, follow Dalbir's excellent tutorial.
 If this doesn't work for your natural eye color, select just the iris and change the color
 using Image > Adjustments > Color Balance.
 
 
 
AIRBRUSHING: As you see in all the magazines, everyone's skin is flawless. But we all
 know that it's fake. No one can have perfect skin like that. To remove a blemish or
 the dreaded pimple in a picture, select the area [as small as possible] with the
 Patch Tool, and drag the selection to an area of smooth skin. Voila!! ALL GONE! To
 make your skin look as soft as a baby's, select your skin [excluding your eyes, lips, sides
 of your nose, eyebrows, etc.] with a feather of approx. 15 pixels [more, if the picture
 is larger] then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the amount to approx. 8.
 Click OK, deselect and there you have it! Model-perfect, flawless skin.
 
 
 
TEXTURES: Applying textures to an image can give it a whole different look. Make a
 new layer on top or bottom of your picture, and change the layer blending options.
 The only rule for this is to play around with it until the picture looks like you want it to.
 For great textures [and other resources & tutorials] visit FEEL Hironeko and
 H Y B R I D G E N E S I S.
 
 
 
BRUSHES: There is an endless amount of brushes you can download to add an object
 into your photo, similar to a stamp. Just follow download instructions & add the
 brush in any color using the Brush tool.
  
  
 TERMS:
 
 
 
A complete list of definitions of common photography terms, for those of you who
 were totally lost and confused & had no idea what I was talking about.. =P

  
  
 REFERENCES:
 
 Special Thanks to:
 - Kodak
 - Eye Color Tutorial by -angel
 - Tea Leaves
 - Short Courses Publishing Company

  
 
 

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Last Updated August 2007
Page by Lin Kristensen