Friday, October 04, 2013

Facebook worthy - CC8

What is the BEST souvenir you could bring home for yourself from your travels?

Toastmasters and most welcome guests, if you are like me and have a terrible memory, then photographs are the most valuable souvenirs from your travels.  I have travelled over the world and depending on who I travel with, the pictures I have as mementos might not be the only memories I want to keep from a particular destination. Some are really bad. Now, with digital cameras, you are at least able to check on the spot if the picture will make it to my Facebook and if not, to take another one right away. It does not however, take away the fact that if you follow 3 simple rules, you will not be spending the whole afternoon trying to get the perfect shot with the Eiffel tower.

First rule, determine what you are trying to capture. Do you want a picture where the focus is a person or a particular monument or object? As a rule of thumb, the focal point should be in the center of the picture, vertically and horizontally, whether it is a person or an object. Take this for example:

 What do you think the photographer was trying to capture in this picture? The lamp or the sofa? …These days, digital cameras allow you to have a grid on the screen to make it easier to center the main subject of your picture and to align the ground horizontally. It always amazes me that as easy as technology has made it, quite a few people still cannot take a decent picture. Like this one:

Apparently it is okay to cut my head off when taking a picture in the south of France. After all, I just need a memento of how blue the sky was and a sample of that wall there. Or maybe I want to remember that in Geneva [slide], the ground might not have been quite level.

The second thing you have to think about when you are the photographer is the lighting. [slide] I think most people would know that if you are behind the camera, then you want the sun to be at your back.

This guy knows what he’s doing. With the newest cameras, if the setting is on ‘automatic’, they would sometimes detect that you are taking a picture against a brighter background and the flash will be triggered automatically. If you do not know better however, you would end up with pictures like this.

This is my very first picture with the CN tower.  “Hi mom, I made it to Toronto. Can’t you guess that’s me with the CN tower?”. This is me not very happy that the houses on the canals of Amsterdam were brighter than me.

This is what happens when you put the flash on.

Let’s not talk about the angle there, just make sure you know where the brightest source of light is.

Framing and lighting may be subject to taste. The photographer may always use as an excuse that he or she, wanted to create an artistic photo, an out of the ordinary perspective on the subject in the picture. However, nobody could excuse a picture like this one.
The third rule is, unless you are trying to take a candid photograph, wait for the subjects to be ready. It is good to count out loud ‘1, 2, 3’ so that the people being photographed are fully aware of when it is going to happen. Now, my memento from Le Casino de Monte Carlo is a picture where I am half sitting or half standing. And my souvenir picture in Bangkok’s Grand Palace is this one, where I was still trying to figure out what the guide was saying.

Capturing digital mementos is easier than it has ever been before. According to 1000memories, a website that allows users to archive and share old photos, “Every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s.” Quantity does not trump quality however so just remember the 3 rules: center the picture on what you want your focal point to be, think about lighting and allow the subjects to settle in before you click. Those will make for better mementos and will not make you ashamed of sharing your vacation pictures. There is nothing worse than going through hundreds of pictures to find 10 good ones to share on Facebook.