Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Photography quick tip – find an angle

Do you always capture photos face on to your subject? If so, add some variety by finding a different angle to shoot from

To add interest to your photos, find a new angle to shoot from.

Instead of always shooting face onto your subject, get down low or get up high to capture something more interesting.

If your point and shoot camera has an adjustable LCD screen you can even get underneath objects like flowers for an even better result.

Helen Bradley

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Setup and Wait – the secret of great shots

Often the secret to a great shot is to stop and wait

I shot this image in London recently. I had stopped at a busy street corner waiting for the lights to change and I saw a double decker bus go past and I caught the reflection in the front window. It was bright and colorful – but before I could do anything the bus motored past.

I had a choice, keep walking or stop and wait. I waited. I stood on that street corner waiting for the next double decker bus to come past in a position where the reflection hit the window nicely and without any distracting vehicles between the bus and me. I also wanted a clean bus so the window would reflect well.

It took a while and I shot quite a few buses until I got this shot. It’s a lucky shot in part because I saw the possibilities, the rest of the shot is pure patience – waiting long enough for the situation to occur again.

Do you stop and wait for things to happen or do you just keep moving on?

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Holiday Photography – Capture photos for your own cards

Capture great photos for your holiday cards

From now to December is a time for celebration and whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwaanza or Hanukkah, chances are that your house will be filled with fun and laughter and a decoration or two at least.

This fun time of the year is ripe for photographing opportunities and Christmas itself is one of the most popular topics for photography. To ensure you have plenty of photos of family and friends to keep for posterity, over the next few weeks I’ll be posting my best tips for capturing seasonal images.

My shopping list for seasonal photos starts with the months leading up to Christmas and includes taking photos for the Christmas cards.

This is a great time to get started, gather everyone together, find a great place to shoot and get to work. It helps if everyone is coordinated clothing-wise – it doesn’t have to be white shirts and dark trousers (and is probably best not to be), but it is best to avoid shirts with advertising and obvious graphics. So go plain rather than fancy and make sure everyone’s colors if they aren’t the same at least work together as a group. If you want to do so, grab some Christmas hats to illustrate the season.

These photos should be fun so approach the task with plenty of time to enjoy the process. Have toys to entertain small kids and water and snacks for everyone.

A good place to photograph is where you have an uncluttered or at least a pleasing background and somewhere to sit that is out of full sun. Photographing early morning or early evening is good if you can do so because the light is better.

Think about the aspect ratio of your cards – do you need portrait or landscape orientation images – and then shoot to this ratio because it is  cumbersome to have to change the image dimensions later on.

If you’re shooting young children then increase the ISO a bit so you can shoot faster, this will give you a good chance of capturing an image without blur and in focus. Keep shooting and take more images than you think you need, if you have young children, chances are that their eyes will be closed, they will be looking away or you won’t get them all looking good at once without some perseverance.

Shoot some single shots too – it is fun to be able to include some loose images of the kids in cards going overseas or to relatives interstate.

Finish the shoot and the final edits in plenty of time to have your cards printed and ready to write and send well before Christmas.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

5 Quick Tips to Improve your Photography Today!

If you want to add a quick boost to your photos, follow these five tips to take better photos today… and everyday!

Tip 1 – Get close to your subject

The single simplest way to improve your photographs is to move physically closer to what you are photographing. If you can’t get physically closer then zoom in close using your camera’s zoom.

This image was captured from the verandah of a house in the tropics so it was possible to walk up very close to the clump of bananas on the palm.


Tip 2 – Capture Close ups with Macro

When shooting an object close up, set your camera to its Macro setting which is indicated by a small flower – you can set it using either a setting on the camera itself or from inside its menus. Zoom all the way back out (macro and zoom don’t mix) and check that the camera is able to focus on what you’re shooting – if not, move further back a little and try again. Most cameras can capture shots using macro mode as close as a few inches from the object.

This flower was captured with a macro setting – one side benefit of this is that the background is thrown out of focus showing an attractive shallow depth of field.

Tip 3 – Follow the Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a tool for creating a dynamic composition for your image. To apply it, draw an imaginary tic-tack-toe board over the scene you see in the  camera’s LCD screen or the viewfinder before you take the shot. Position the subject of the image along a horizontal a vertical line or at the  intersection of the lines. This ensures, for example, that the  horizon appears across the top or bottom third of an image and never right in the middle.

In this image the out of focus wall in the foreground is along the bottom line of the imaginary tic-tac-toe board.

Tip 4 – Capture from an Unusual Angle

Look for different angles to shoot from. Take a portrait  from a vantage point high above the person and look for different angles when photographing classic buildings so you  capture photographs that aren’t the same as everyone else’s.

In this image the camera was positioned under the flower and facing the sky and the translucency of the flower shows beautifully.

Tip 5 – Respect the “no flash” zone

The effective radius of your camera’s flash is around 9-12 feet so it won’t work in a sporting stadium at night. Instead use a long exposure time and mount the camera to a tripod.

In the image below the short radius of the flash has lit the statue which is close to the camera. A long exposure has captured the light on the structure behind. Read this post to discover how setting a curtain flash lets you combine both flash and long exposures.


Helen Bradley