Sunday, January 29, 2006

How to take better clubbing photos

One of our most popular features reprinted here for you to have no excuse when you are out clubbing and taking pictures for us!

Better Clubbing Photos

It's a great time we live in. Digital cameras and phones allow us to take pictures in ways we have never been able to do properly. That includes taking your camera down the club to snap some happy memories. The downside is that clubs and festivals are not the best place for photographs. They might be full of beautiful people wearing very little, but it won't take long before they are mostly gibbering messes in various corners. Plus there is the boring factor. Who wants to look at million of pictures with a slight variation on a theme - girl with mates, boy with rowdy mates, girl on her own, boy with even more rowdy mates. How do you make it interesting? How do you make your memories stand out and look great?

Here are some of the basic guidelines to taking pictures in general. These apply just as much in a club as they do on the beach at Bora Bora (or even taking snaps of your favourite baby cousins birthday). However you look at it, they are going to make your pictures better.

1. Rule of Thirds

Alistair Houston explains:

Imaginary lines are drawn dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. You place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect. I've even made a little diagram for you.

Good places to put things; third of the way up, third of the way in from the left , you get the idea. Duff places to put things; right in the middle, right at the top, right at the bottom, away in the corner. Using the Rule of Thirds helps produce nicely balanced easy on the eye pictures. Also, as you have to position things relative to the edges of the frame it helps get rid of ' tiny subject surrounded by vast empty space' syndrome.

2. Six Feet Up is Bad

Neil Turner on positioning:

It is very easy to hold the camera to your eye and take a picture. Good photography requires us all to think about where we are taking the picture from as well as what we are taking. The best photographs are made when the photographer chooses a vantage point to suit the subject, and it is surprising how few subjects are suited by the height of a human standing at their full five to six feet. I will lay good money that 90% of pictures are better when taken from below four feet or over seven.

3. Fill the Frame

More ideas from Silverlight:

Sometimes your mind tends to exaggerate what you see through the viewfinder of your camera. You often perceive things a bit bigger than they actually are and you also tend not to notice 'slight' distractions. What you end up with is photographs with huge areas of wasted space around the edge and people with things growing out of their heads. Make sure your subject fills the frame. The best way to do this is to move a bit closer. Before you press that shutter release have a quick look round the edge of the frame and behind your subject. Make sure that you don't have acres of space full of nothing interesting and check for 'stuff' intruding into your masterpiece.

4. Take Vertical Pictures

Where better to go for advice than Kodak themselves. Particualrly when it comes to turning the camera round.

Is your camera vertically challenged? It is if you never turn it sideways to take a vertical picture. All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture. From a lighthouse near a cliff to the Eiffel Tower to your four-year-old niece jumping in a puddle. So next time out, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures.

5. Pay Attention to Lines

Finally, a more general tip from Fotofinish but as you can see from our examples, lines are just as important in clubbing.

Curves, straight lines, and diagonals add energy and movement to your compositions. Let roads and rivers draw the viewer into the image or lead the viewer's eye in a specific direction. Watch for natural geometric patterns and place yourself at an interesting angle to them.

So there you have it. Now you have no excuse. Your pics will look great and it's all thanks to Gurn. No need to thank us.

The next step is to let the world see what great photography skills you now have. That bit is easy because we have a gallery just for such an occasion. Just head over to the Work For Us page and sign up. Before you know it, your new found skills will be gracing the the purple and orange pages of the Gallery. Tony Hart would be proud.

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