Thursday, June 4, 2009

RULE #1 : Fill the frame.

Puglet's worn out from his adventures in neutering and Dutch is busy recovering from a mild bout of depression. So I guess that leaves me, aka Puglet's human.

We've gotten a bunch of emails lately asking about the kind of camera I use. In case you're now wondering too --- I've got a few. But almost every picture on Daily Puglet was taken with a basic old point & shoot. I won't lie, there are definitely benefits to using the nice, super-fancy equipment. But you CAN take really nice pictures without it. I promise. Good photography is as much about the camera as what you do with it.

No matter what camera you have or what you want to photograph, there are simple things you can to do get better pictures. Today I'll share one of the easiest. This works with all pictures, but I'll make it Pug-specific.

Good Photo Rule #1: Fill the frame with your subject

Unless a background or setting adds something to a picture, don't let it dominate your image. Instead, make your Pug the main attraction. What does this mean?
It means if I included half my living room in today's photo, you'd be looking at a picture of plants and windows and furniture and bookshelves and dog toys... and a cute little Puglet sleeping on my laptop.

No matter how cute a sleeping Puglet may be, he'd have a hard time grabbing your attention in a visual sea of "stuff". The resulting photo would be pretty boring. By 'filling the frame" with the image of Puglet sleeping on my laptop, I've made him the center of attention (as all Pugs like to be).

So how do I do it?
Get close to your Pug. Then, get closer. Trust me on this. Just be sure to turn off your flash *first* (and get your Pug to a place where there's a lot of light). Also, be aware of one thing: every camera's lens has limits and you can only get so close before things get fuzzy (out of focus). The mysterious line between fuzzy and sharp varies by camera/lens, so check your manual for something called a "minimum focus distance" and don't get any closer than that. If you hate reading manuals as much as I do, start at a distance of 1 - 2 feet from your Pug. If your pictures turn out fuzzy, move a little farther away and try again. Repeat until things look nice and sharp.

There are times - especially with point & shoots - that a camera's "normal" focusing distance can't get you close enough. Today's photo is a perfect example: Puglet's comfy spot on my lap was way too close for my camera to focus on. At times like this, the Macro setting is your friend. Macro is my friend A LOT.

Macro?? Don't worry, your camera knows what it is. To unleash the magic of Macro, just switch your camera to the "scene" or mode for taking pictures of flowers (some cameras just have little icon that looks like a tulip). A lot of people don't realize you can use the "flower" mode to take really great pictures of dogs. Or kids. Or just about anything.

One caveat: Macro is meant for close ups. Once you get close, stay there or things will get fuzzy again.

That's probably waaaay more than enough camera talk for one day. But give it a try and see what happens. Speaking from experience, taking pictures is much more fun when you actually like the pictures you take. Hopefully, today's "lesson" can help with that.

(Send us a picture if it does!)


Anonymous said...

im going to try to get close then closer, sounds like great advice.

THE PUGLET said...

Just remember the Macro part if you get real close. Otherwise things will be fuzzy... and not in a good way!