A little photography lesson – framing the shot & more

What is it that all of us amateur photographers say? “I am no expert.” And I’m most decidedly not, but I am working at it and I have learned a few things over the last year or so. Sometimes I learn something and don’t realize it until months later.

If you hang around here much, you know how much I love my DSLR camera. I mean, I may have mentioned that just a couple times over the last 13 months, right? But the two points I’m making today are going to apply to point and shoot digitals as well. The key is the fact that they are digital cameras. Some of you might be too young to have ever had a film camera, but back when that is all I had, film and processing costs played a large part in dictating how many photos I took. When the girls were young, I was a stay at home Mom and money was pretty tight, so taking tons of pictures wasn’t really an option.

Now, with a digital, it doesn’t cost anything to take more photos because they are on the memory card which is already paid for, right? It surprises me how few shots I see people take with their digital cameras. You never know how a shot truly looks until you get it on your computer, so don’t take chances that you missed something, or that an area you wanted in focus came out blurry or some distracting element crept into your shot. This may seem like really really basic info for some of you, but for others, you may still be shooting like you have to take the film to Rite Aid to get it developed.

The shots below are are perfect illustration of this principle. This is a daylily called “Samwise”. I had been looking for this one for a few years, partly because the colors fit the direction I am taking my garden and partly because of the name, which is shared by a certain hobbit in “The Lord of the Rings”. I’m a sucker for Tolkien still. Looking through some of the folders on my back up drive from last summer, I ran across these shots of the first flowers on “Samwise” last summer. It is fortunate that I took a lot of shots, because this one is similar to the rest at the beginning of the series. samwise1It would make an ideal illustration if you were writing an article on how to take a terrible photo. Too sunny, so we have some ugly shadows for one thing. And good grief – could this be any more cluttered up with junk that detracts from the bloom? A couple strands of the nearby miscanthus “Morning Light”, and a scattering of purple coneflowers that clash and obscure the edges of the main subject. I don’t know what the white blob is – the corner of the house I suppose. I didn’t notice any of that when I was taking the photos – must be where that “amateur” thing comes in. There is no fixing this photo and the fact that I even still have it can be attributed to my lack of discernment when I first went through these. [or I planned this post all along – yeah, that’s it!]

But then, 20 shots or so later, there were 5 or 6 at this angle. It’s a different scape on the same plant, but I framed this without all the bad things that are in the other ones. The sun had gone behind some clouds apparently, so the colors are more vivid with no more shadows, and it’s framed behind by just the lawn. Not perfect but it’s worth working on.samwise2Cropped, a little cloning to get rid of some water spots on the petals, a bit of bumping around with contrast levels and very small touch of sharpening and it looks a lot better. samwise2_editedSo, take a lot of photos, even if you think you got it right the first time. It is a small matter to hit the delete key later, but it is a rare thing to be able to go back and catch something you missed the first time. And, move around your subject, capturing it from multiple angles, to make sure you get that perfect shot. Now – go take some pictures!

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18 Responses to A little photography lesson – framing the shot & more

  1. Ashleigh says:

    Here here! I could not agree more.

    Excellent shots.

  2. CM says:

    You – are – so – smart! Really …. I always knew that about you!
    I love your photos! The lesson is quite interesting.

  3. Mental P Mama says:

    Great advice;)

  4. Char says:

    great advice

  5. Pearl says:

    love your photos, always :)

  6. MudRanch says:

    Excellent points. I always take tons of pictures of the same thing for just like you said, in case something isn’t in focus. One thing I learned in school was to check all borders of the frame to see if there is any distractions in the view finder.

    I was just mentioned in another post by a person who says they’re more a “purist” – aka don’t like to use PS, but I think that w/ just the right amount of tweaking you can really make something good, into stunning!

  7. TSannie says:

    I like the photos I take…until I see yours…darn!

  8. Karen says:

    thank you so much for the excellent advice. I do not have a trained eye for this sort of thing, but I so enjoy it. I always love your photos.

  9. ELK says:

    Beauty in your words and pop in those shots…

  10. Daryl says:

    Nice shots … me? I never take the ‘same’ shot twice …

  11. MUD says:

    The beauty of digital photography is you get ot make the changes to your photos that was once only available in the darkroom. I use Adobe Photo 6 and love the ability to make aphoto better. MUD

  12. Country Girl says:

    I remember well the days of film and how many shots I wasted and spent my money on! Things have changed so much for the better, haven’t they?
    This is such a beautiful daylilly! And I, too, love the name. The end result looks excellent. Good advice.

  13. Laura ~Peach~ says:

    first thing I realised when I bought the pen camera (my first digital) was that I coudl take more and hopefully get that one great shot… hence the over 10 thousand in the old file plus the 20 some odd Cd’s filled with photos. it is funny to go back and look at them and see the pics I thought were good ones compaired to now several years and several cameras later… People seem to get tired of me taking so many photos but I always say fill the card you can delete those you dont like or are blurry ect.. carry on you are a wonderful photography teacher :)
    99% of the photos I post are SOTC with only cropping being done to them. I have never figured out how to do the tones and colors ect.

  14. veggie belly says:

    great write up, I love the last picture :)

  15. Ellyn says:

    Grea advice. Wonderful photo. I can’t wait for summer. Look at how green everything is.

  16. noble pig says:

    Wow. The color is amazing.

  17. Ruth Hull Chatlien says:

    The last photo is great. And I do love Samwise.

  18. JGH says:

    Very helpful. I needed this post.

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