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,
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
6. Double check the composition of the photograph,
including the positioning and size of the subject(s). Refocus
7. Take the picture.
If you're photographing people,
you should let them know when you'll be shooting so they can try not
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
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
Bride and bridesmaids.
"Father" of the bride escorting bride down aisle to be "given
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.