Create Amazing Photos

A White Tail Doe eats off a fallen tree limb as the fawn watches.

A White Tail Doe eats off a fallen tree limb as the fawn watches. (Rebel XS, Canon 70-200mm F4 IS lens: Lens set at 70mm and F4,0, Camera settings: Cloudy white balance, no flash, ISO 200, Shutter speed 1/60)


What techniques are needed to create an amazing image like the one shown here? Photographs should be amazing in every detail, which involves the following elements; the selection of the subject, excellent composition, and proper use of equipment. All of those elements will be discussed briefly in the paragraphs that follow.
How do you get to know your subject? One of the best ways to understand something is by observation. In the photo above I spent over two hours observing and photographing the white tail doe and fawn. I observed where they stood, how they moved, and how that movement impacted the photograph I had in my mind that I wanted to create. Knowing your subject takes spending time with them to see their mannerisms. This is true for both animals and humans. You want to capture your subject at the right time and looking their best, which will take a good deal of observation. Once you know your subject well, you will want to understand some basics of composition to help them look amazing.
Basics of composition involves many important elements; placement of your subject in the frame, awareness of lighting, and depth of field. Placement of your subject using the Rule of Thirds is often helpful. The Rule of Thirds divides your frame into thirds vertically and horizontally. By placing your subject at or near the intersection points it will lead the viewer to see more of your photograph and cause the subject to be more amazing. Lighting is something that every photographer needs to understand. Creating, manipulating and then capturing the right amount of light for your subject involves using the right shutter speed, proper F-Stop on the lens, and the correct white balance setting. Shutter speed refers to the length of time your camera shutter is open. F-Stop refers to the size of the opening inside your lens (the aperature) and the amount of light your lens brings into your camera. White balance refers to the kind of lighting used. Is it one of the following; sunlight, cloudy, shade, flash, tungsten, or florescent? Each light source has a different temperature and will result in a change of color to your subject. Experiment with different lighting to see how your subject looks in each one. Depth of field refers to how much of the foreground, subject, and background is in focus. If you want everything in focus you will most likely use a lens setting of F8 and higher (F11, F16, F22, and F32). If you want more of your subject in focus and less of the background in focus (getting the bokeh effect) you may want to consider using the quickest F-stop on your lens (F1.8, F2.8, F4.0 or F5.6). The terms used here involve knowing and understanding your camera and lenses very well.
How well do you know and understand your camera and lenses? Have you read your camera manual? Are you familiar with the more advanced camera and lens settings than Auto? Your photographic equipment is well crafted tools that can help you create amazing images, if you know how to use them properly. There are many magazines, videos, and books that will help you learn how to use your camera and lenses and greatly improve your skills. Go online, to the library, or buy them from a book store. Make sure you spend time taking notes and then practice the techniques the photographers have used to create amazing photographs.
Amazing photographs just don’t happen by magic or luck. The photographer often spends many hours on learning and observing the subject, creating the right composition, and understanding their equipment.  Now then, get out there and create some amazing photographs of your favorite subjects.


About Douglas Wilks Photography

I am an advanced photographer who lives in western Montana. I create a variety of strong images using a DSLR, computer, and digital software. I am available for hire for full time, part time, or projects. Most of my images are of landscapes, still life, and events. I am always looking to improve my skills, network of friends and professionals, and portfolio. I look forward to creating new friends, contacts, and others who are interested in photography.
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