How to Take Pictures

1. Decide who or what your subject is.

The subject can be a (1) person, (2) thing, (3) location, or (4) combination of (1)-(3).

2. Compose the picture.

Locate your subject in the viewfinder and adjust the size and position of the subject within the frame. The size of the subject can be adjusted by changing either the zoom lens setting or your distance from the subject.

For portraits of people, you generally want the subject(s) to occupy most of the frame, but you need to make sure there's enough extra space around the subject to allow for printing effects (e.g., enlargments) which may cut off part of the picture.

Avoid setting the zoom lens to a focal length of less than ~ 35 mm, since doing this results in a noticeably distorted image near the edges. If possible, use a focal length of ~ 50 mm.

4. Make sure there are no extraneous objects (e.g., garbage cans, dirty napkins, dirty dishes) in the field of view,

since these would detract from the quality of the final image.

5. Focus carefully.

If photographing an off-center subject using an autofocus camera, point the camera at the subject first, focus, and then redirect the camera while maintaining the same focus.

6. Double check the composition of the photograph,

including the positioning and size of the subject(s). Refocus if necessary.

7. Take the picture.

If you're photographing people, you should let them know when you'll be shooting so they can try not to blink.

This is a picture of a residential property, in West Somerville, Massachusetts, consisting of a house and the adjacent garages, driveway, and front yard. The subject--the property--is centered in and fills most of the frame but isn't too close to any of the edges.

This is a close-up portrait taken in front of the central waterfall in the Copley Place Mall, in Boston. The close-up view allows a good look at the subjects' smiling faces and is suitable for enlargement. Your portraits can be close-ups like this one, or full-length, 3/4 length, 1/2 length, etc.

A view of the main complex of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as seen from the West Broadmoor. Try to keep your pictures balanced in terms of placement (e.g., left-right, top-bottom, etc.) of objects. For example, in this picture the building in the upper left corner balances the benches in the lower right corner.

Group picture taken at the 1997 Applied Insurance Research Risk Management Conference, at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, Boca Raton, Florida. Note the symmetry of the photograph--the five subjects' faces are located near the four corners and center of the frame.

Coconut laden tree in front of the Tower at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, Boca Raton, Florida. This is an example of the use of the "rule of thirds" to place emphasis on the coconuts, by positioning them ~ 1/3 of the way in from the edge of the frame.

Interior of Catholic church during wedding.

Picture of the wedding party in front of the altar at a Catholic wedding.

Bride and bridesmaids.

"Father" of the bride escorting bride down aisle to be "given away."

Greeting line following conclusion of wedding ceremony.

Typical table at the wedding reception.

Groom signing marriage license.

Another typical table at the wedding reception.

Wedding cake being cut.
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