2 tips: how to not make your photos suck.

I can’t take many great pictures, but I can take pictures that don’t suck. Again, I am by no means an amazing photographer.  I did however spend my high school years working in my dad’s photo-lab (developing pictures, not taking them), and I was always told 2 things over and over.  My dad and I have been in San Fransisco this weekend and we got to talking about it. So, I thought I would illustrate with two pictures from today.

1. Shoot most pictures a half ‘step’ or even more full step down.

If you don’t know what ‘stepping down’ or ‘stop down’ is in photography, google it and you can greatly improve many pictures. You can always brighten a picture later. But if it’s over exposed can never get the detail back. It also allows you to bring get better contrast by ‘darkening in the dark’.

Example: at the Oakland Zoo and I snapped this of a lion. It was about 2 pm and bright as hell. Step it down a couple, the darkness in the back is dark, the lion gets more gold and draws the eye down, and BOOM, f’ing Lion King at what looks like 7:00 pm just before the sun sets. Not amazing but it doesn’t suck.

2. Don’t take the same picture every other god damn person takes. Period. I hate it. You know what I’m talking about. Subject is right in the center. You can see the whole object. And it’s taken straight from eye level. You get the same picture of the pretty bridge/waterfall/statue/animal/whatever that every other damn person. If you dont have an unusual subject just kneel, hold your camera over your head, jump on top of a garbage can, shoot from the hip, anything just get off the eye-level plane. Or shoot somewhere no one usually takes pictures from, ie my last post of a high dive: take the camera with you.

Example: Took this today, shot threw the window doing 60 down the bay bridge. No one stands here and takes a picture, so it makes for an unusual shot. Not amazing, but it doesn’t suck.

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