Camera Basics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 21, 1999

TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / August 21, 1999

If you take the time to read the captions or cut-lines below the photos seen in L’Observateur, you will notice that not all of them are taken by a staff photographer. Many of the photographs are taken by subscribers, individuals thatattended a particular event or by someone that has been appointed the press photographer for a school or company. This is great because we staffphotographers can’t always be everywhere, all the time, for every event. Trustme, we’re very happy to receive all the help we can get in getting all the news and current information on what’s happening in our tri-parish area.

Here are a few tips on film choice, subject positioning and posing to help improve your photo journalistic techniques.

There can be no better film choice than 400 ASA film. Four hundred ASA film isa great all-around film for almost any shooting situation. It will gives greatflash range and decent shutter speeds for natural light photos, while keeping the grain down to a minimum. Film speeds greater than 800 ASA tend to get alittle grainy but are films primarily used to shoot without flash (natural light).

Subject positioning pertains to how you place your subject and camera in relationship to the sun or other objects. Outdoors, try to take a camera positionthat places the sun at a 45 degree angle, coming from behind the subject, then turn on your flash for photos of people. Better yet, place the subject in theshade and use the flash. Indoors, move your subject about 4 to 6 feet away fromthe wall to avoid strong shadows. If the subject is placed in front of sunlit-windows, use the flash to avoid under exposure due to back-lighting.

When it comes to posing, please, no more mug shots! Have your subject place his or her body at about a 45 degree angle, with their face turned back toward the camera. If you are shooting a photo of a small group, split it in half and havethem turn slightly towards each other (from center) at a 45 degree angle. Usechairs or steps to create levels if you are shooting large groups.

Last, but not least, always shoot a few extra frames to guard against those one- eye monsters in your photographs.Some people are incapable of having therephoto taken without blinking their eyes.

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