I was lucky enough to attend a workshop hosted by Epson and Nikon last Friday. Called "Develop Yourself", it aimed to teach journos how to take awesome photos with compact digital cameras, and then how to print them out for maximum effect.
I leaped at the chance to go, because my photography efforts have been pretty limited to taking shots of the two most beautiful boys that ever there were in the last six years, and I was keen to haul out the creative side of me that took some pretty fantastic shots in the Middle East when I toured there (in another life, a long long time ago...)
The event was hosted at the Bioscope near the Arts on Main complex, and we wandered around the streets and interesting little nooks and crannies in the area to find interesting shots.
The three top tips I picked up on the day were:
Setting the white balance to manual, to give you control
The little bits of Nikon awesomeness that we were given to shoot on had a variable setting to contend with different lighting conditions - daylight, shadow, flourescent light etc - something that I wasn't aware could be adjusted in these small devices. The bonus part of this? Without spending a fortune on a a DSLR, you can adjust your camera to compensate for different lighting conditions, which means that your images will always be sharp and punchy.
The "but wait there's more..." part is that you can play with these settings to create arty images - something that used to be the preserve of graphic designers who paid fortunes for PhotoShop...
These photos aren't great - but they're of similar composition shot with different light settings - they give you an idea of what you can do just by changing a setting on your camera
Composition is what it's ALL about
I've always known about the rule of thirds, but it was good to have this reinforced. It was also interesting to find out that the top right intersection point is the most important one - although I guess I should have figured that from my years in magazines.
Make art from your photos
It's amazing how powerful an image can be when it's blown up to A3 and framed. This is the shot I chose to be blown up and framed on the day.
While I was happy with the composition of the shot when it came up on the camera's three-inch screen, and it looks pretty ordinary posted here, it looks way more impressive when given a little bit of beautiful printing and framing love. The art is not just in taking the photo, it's in printing it out and framing it...
So after a day of inspiration, I'm going to carry on taking photos of the two most beautiful boys that ever there were... but I shall be breaking that up with some arty shots too - I love taking interesting architecture shots, and now that I'm carrying around a little compact digital camera wherever I go, I'm going to make more of an effort to capture the world around me. I hope you do too...
Disclaimer: Epson is a client of my employer, TribecaPR. While I was their 'guest' for the day, the thoughts and opinions above are my own, and have not been suggested or approved by anyone else.