Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

5 Techniques for taking better photos

These 5 techniques can help you improve your photography today

Here are 5 techniques you can put to work today to help take better photos:

Tip 1 – Capture Moving objects

When shooting a moving object, capture it as it comes towards because as your camera can focus more easily this way.

If an object is travelling across your field of vision, follow the movement with the camera as you capture the shot. The object will be in focus and the remainder of the background will be pleasantly blurry. Or do it in reverse and focus on the background and let the subject move across the image.

In this photo I opted to keep the background in focus and the vehicles in motion:

 Tip 2 – Create a frame

When shooting an object in the distance, frame it using an object in the foreground such as an overhanging tree or an arched window. The frame will invite the viewer to look into the image.

Tip 3 – Focus and shift

To focus on an object off centre in your photo, point to the object and press the shutter release halfway down to focus on the object. Move the camera to reframe the scene and continue to depress the shutter and take the photograph.

In this image I focused on the boat on the right then reframed the image before capturing the shot.

Tip 4 – Reflections

Look for interesting items to reflect your subject in. Faces can be reflected in a car’s rear vision mirror and buildings can be reflected in a puddle on the footpath. Images of objects reflected in shiny surfaces often result in more compelling images than would be the case if you simply photographed the original object.

 Tip 5 – Get down low

When photographing pets and children get down to their level so you capture the child or animal face on rather than photographing the top of their head. If shooting from above, get a lot higher and get your subject to look up as you take the shot.


Helen Bradley

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Reflections make the ugly look charming

I really cannot emphasise too much how reflections can help you capture wonderful images. They can make even the most ugly objects like discarded road signs and rusty fences look great. It seems that anything reflected seems to grow an immediate charm factor and you can take advantage of this.

In this image, the traffic cone caught my eye so that made the subject something to look at. Perched on the old fence and standing in the canal it had a certain charm. Then the reflection made the shot. If I could pull it all together I had a worthwhile image. I like the result.

When you are out, look for reflections – you will find them in water and in shop windows, in car windows and all sorts of places you might not think of but they are there.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Winter Photography tips #4 – Capture Reflections

When you’re looking around a scene for photographic opportunities take the time to look down as well as out and up.

Winter brings with it not only stiller waters but also puddles created by rainfall.

On any day when rain has fallen a wealth of photographic opportunities exist at your feet. Capture a scene in a puddle to get a reflected image with artistic qualities that simply aren’t there when you take a photograph of the object itself.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu

Happy New Year!

This year marks my second year in Tokyo for New Years. This time I’m lucky enough to be staying at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku. Featured in Lost in Translation it is as beautiful and wonderful as shown in the movie.

Here are a batch of my photos. Starting out with a couple snapped at Harajuku yesterday. It’s the home of Cosplay – costume play and such a fun place to hang out.

Reflections abound in this city of skyscrapers:

These drink machines are everywhere and sell some very interesting and colourful drinks:

Love this inside neon sign – some things look very different when lit up:

This time I’m finding a lot more graffiti around. Some angry, some artistic and some colourful:

I think this is a old bowling alley sign, the alley is long gone but the sign is still there…

Very strange indeed. There was a whole wall dotted with these signs. Not sure what these guys did but I imagine it wasn’t good!

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Arrivederci Roma

Proof positive that it is impossible to have too much of a good thing. When one reflection is just not enough, what about four or five?

Today, I walked around Rome for a couple of hours before heading to the airport for flights to London and then CDG in Paris.

I have loved Rome, I really didn’t expect to even like it – not sure really why I decided to come here but I certainly left a little piece of my heart here.

So here are todays pixs. First is proof postive that the early bird, if she doesn’t get the worm, at least gets the wonderful photo, I loved this tree throwing such a perfect shadow in the early morning light:

This wall is near the Villa Borghese gardens and it really captured my eye:

This statue made me laugh. It looks pretty angry with having to hold up the front of the Westin Hotel – and I’m not sure who the artist modelled it on, but it is a very ambiguous piece!

One of my themes this trip is lights and this morning I lucked out with this perfect shadow – you don’t get these in the middle of the day – you have to be up early enough to capture the light coming at just the right angle:

Here’s another of the light fittings I shot, they have such wonderful detail and they are so varied:

No great graffiti today, but this snippet caught my eye:

Autumn in Rome, I love how the reflection of the trees has painted this car:

When I was a kid, my brother had this cute little minature train set. This petrol station could have been part of his set. I guess when you have little cars and lots of scooters you don’t need petrol stations the size of supermarket parking lots:

And finally, another really old number plate on the cutest Fiat car:

Helen Bradley

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Caesar has cool boots

Julius Caesar gets to wear very cool shoes, I want boots like his.

Today is my last day in Rome and tomorrow I fly to Paris via London. Yes, I know, that makes no sense, neither does it that BA charges $250 for this flight and Air France from Rome to Paris would have been 10x that price. So, I go via London and get to check out the new Terminal 5!

But, today belongs to Rome. The weather was fantastic and I got an early start. The bright sunshine means that reflections abound – here are some I captured:

I am becoming a conniseur of which cars give the best reflections, love the way this one curves around and I promise, that paper was there already, I didn’t put it there:

I struggled to find any meaningful way to photograph the Colosseo and the Arco di Constantino. It was frustrating to think I’d come home with the same photos that everyone else had. And then I stepped in this really big puddle of water – hmmmm, puddles, water, reflections – got it! These are the two shots that made my day:

I walked past this church and didn’t even notice it – from the ground it looked like any other building. But, as I was checking out reflections, I caught sight of its tower and bells – I would have missed it otherwise. Double glazing in the windows has added character to these cool reflections:

Gotta love this guy, Piazza Navona is full of tourists in casual gear, cameras going everywhere and tons of noise and music and this guy is sitting, very dapper in his tie, drinking caffe and water and working – on a Sunday!

Ok, so this angel might look innocent enough but he is holding a mamoth sword in one hand – angels with swords? It’s Rome!

Remember your history lessons? Pop Quiz: a) ionic b) doric c) corinthian?

This is how they fix a horse that split his seams, statue detail, Piazza del Quirinale:

Very old number plate on a very old car:

Today was a little light on grafitti but this one caught my eye:

Statue detail from Piazza del Quirinale:

Finally, the sun sets over Rome’s Fiume Tevere:

Helen Bradley

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Falling in love with Rome

I have been surprised at how easy Rome is to walk. On the map it looks so much bigger than it really is. You need to walk it too or you miss so much of the tiny details that, together, go to make the city.

As you look at these photos, insert backing sounds of church bells ringing, traffic and the sirens of the local carbineri and politzia as they whizz around this wonderful city.

Here are some images from the themes I’ve been shooting. One is roof tops and the wonderful chimney pots and layers in the roofs of the city:

Close ups from statues, churches and fountains is another of my themes. The first is detail from the Trevi fountain and the second is from one of the three fountains in the Piazza Navona:

OMG, there’s a pigeon on my nose!

From a church in Orvieto:

Same church, here are the colours of Italy in the door detail:

Another theme is windows, here is one through which you can see to the building behind. It is from the Forum area in Rome:

This window harbours a reflection of a nearby building:

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

I find that domes are much more interesting in the context of their surrounds, like this one:

Another of my themes this trip is light fittings. I have a huge collection of wonderful street lights and shop lights. This is a set from near the Colosseo in Rome:

As luck would have it, United Colors of Beneton is right opposite the Trevi Fountain. So, with your back to the fountain you can see it reflected in the shop window. Here’s the result:

Another morning, I found a map and paper shop with a street light in front. This photo is more reminiscent of a multi shot taken using film and has a collage feel to it – gotta love reflections:

Everywhere throughout Italy you can find religious icons above houses and at nearly every street corner. I have a grab bag of photos of them, this is one of the more elaborate I’ve found:

Finally, who can resist a market such as the one at the Campo de Fiori, and the wonderful variety of fruit on display:

Or this streetside tie display:

And what is a day without some wonderful graffiti?

Helen Bradley

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Goodbye Florence, Hello Roma!

Today I ended my stay in Florence and took the train to Rome. Before I left Florence, I got up early enough to take the D bus to the Ponte Vecchio as I wanted to photograph the “other side” to the one I’d seen previously. As luck would have it there were a couple of other things I’d seen on earlier trips that I also saw as I walked back to the hotel before checking out so it was a successful hour of photographing.

This corner fountain was one of those things I wanted to capture. So wonderfully unexpected – you fly round the corner and see this… very Florentine:

These are sundry photos from the Ponte Vecchio – it is a very very old bridge with shops along it and the cutest little buildings growing out of it:

This guy was working on a house, and passing bucket loads of broken rubble down to his mate below. They thought it too funny I wanted to photograph them and we exchanged lots of laughs as they posed for the camera:

One of my challenges this trip has been to photograph reflections. They aren’t so easy to capture as we’re so used to looking past them – we just don’t notice they are there. These are first, bright morning sunshine in a window in Florence and then two buildings captured reflected on cars in Rome:

One thing I wasn’t expecting was that it would be still Autumn in Italy. I seriously thought that since I was in Paris last year in Sept/Oct and it was Autumn then that it would be well past it in Italy. Well, I lucked out. Italy has been experiencing very hot weather until the week before I arrived when it started to turn cold. Result? It is Autumn in Italy and the colours are magic. Here are some photos from along the banks of the Arno River showing some of the Autumn colours in the leaves:

It wouldn’t be a happy day if I didn’t find some great graffiti. I’d seen this piece a number of times across the city, and this morning I finally captured it:

More from alongside the Arno River in Florence:

Now we move to Rome. This building towers over the top of the Spanish Steps which, themselves, offer breathtaking views across Rome:

Because no buildings can be taller than one of the churches here, the panorama is spectacular from the Spanish Steps you look out all across the tops of the buildings below:

Last photo for today is this one. Taken as the sun was retreating in the late afternoon, it encapsulates some of the magic of this city – it’s really in the small things that Italy etches herself deep in your soul:

Helen Bradley

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Reflections in Hong Kong

One of the things I found myself photographing in Hong Kong and in Tokyo was reflections. The images I caught of buildings reflected in other buildings are mini worlds that exist only for those who choose to see them.

Rreflections are a different reality. While the building doing the reflecting might not be visually interesting per se and the building being reflected might not be so great, the combination of the two is so wonderful and temporary.

Photographing them is as if life is rewarding you for using your eyes to see, not just look.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Brighton Pier

Oh wow. I had all these photos of Brighton Pier. It was raining cats and dogs when I got there so I had to shoot everything with water dripping down my neck and trying desparately to keep water off the camera.

I though I’d probably lost out on good shots. Not so! A little fix here and there and I have some great results. I love this Caution, No Entry one. I had to adjust this image twice, once to bring in the pier and water/buildings detail and a second time to get the reflections in the timber pier flooring. I used a mask to bring in the bits I wanted to use. You wouldn’t believe what I started with and how far it came, so – just in case you’re interested, here’s a preview of the starting image:

Helen Bradley