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Photography Tips

23 May

Chicago is a photogenic city.  Here are some ideas for really capturing the aesthetics of a unique environment…

Signature Room (photograph by Maarten)

Signature Room (photo by guest)

1. Think: person, place, thing: This old definition of the use of a noun is a handy guide to a great vacation photo: the best travel photos will often be about all three of these.  For example, let’s say you want to take a photo of the Cloud Gate at Millennium Park , and it’s a rainy day in Chicago. If you pull up your photo and snap the Tower in the gray light, you could get a decent photo.  But if you put your friends in the photo (your favorite people) with the Tower glimpsed over their shoulders (the place of interest), visible just under the rim of an umbrella (a very specific thing that evokes the conditions), you have a great shot.

South Loop (early evening)

2. Consider the time of day (seize the night): or perhaps the early evening, when the sun is almost fully set and the sky emits that faint glow, that time of day usually produces wonderful pictures.   Throughout the day, the quality of light changes. Without going into specifics, in the morning and evenings the light is softer; during the day the sun is more overhead and tends to be hard and unflattering. If you are going to shoot during the day, keep this in mind!

3.  Bring Extras!  Don’t fret about draining batteries & reaching capacity on memory cards, just bring extra.  It is a bit better to buy big brand names from recognizable companies when purchasing memory cards, but batteries can be bought in bulk, and also for very cheap.  The key here is not to limit yourself, you never know how many excellent photo opportunities will arrive on your exploration.

Osaka Garden

4.  Research your Device: You will only benefit from maximizing on your cameras abilities.  Nick Nieto Photography says: “A person who understand exactly how to use their $200 point and shoot camera will on average get better images than a person who doesn’t know how to use their $1000+ SLR.”  Whether your taking photos via iphone or a Canon SX 50, taking a great photo is within your reach.

Moray Eel at the Shedd Aquarium

5. Vertical vs. Horizon:  Which will turn out better?  It’s a good idea to take both.    Since a photograph cannot selectively focus once taken (like the brain can selectively focus on a live scene), this limitation of the field of vision is extremely important to photographers.  By turning a camera sideways, photographers achieve a vertical photograph in order to further limit the field of vision.

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