By Greg Illes
There are thousands of how-to books on photography. If you are really into improving your techniques, by all means find some good references and study them. But if you just want some simple tips for better pictures, read on.
First, let’s be very clear: If you want pictures while you are driving you MUST let a passenger take them. No excuses or exceptions. Otherwise, pull over and STOP before you start shooting.
Stopped or parked — If you are still, you will get your best pictures. You have time to compose, frame and shoot, including multiple exposures.
Driving — Sometimes you simply want to snap a shot without all the fuss of slowing down, stopping, parking, etc. Let your passenger do this. Try to shoot forward (through the windshield) to minimize the movement of the subject. Hold the camera close to the windshield to avoid auto-focusing on the wipers or bug splats. Obviously, a clean windshield will produce the best results. If you have to shoot sideways, try to frame distant objects, again to minimize motion (which causes blurring).
Off-center your subject — Place the subject slightly off-center in the frame. It helps to have texture, but not competing objects, in the foreground or background. Especially with people, have the person(s) off-center and the scenery complementing them.
Shoot multiple shots — Digital “film” is cheap and bad shots are one Delete key away. Try several angles and zooms of your subject. You can never see the shot as well in your camera as you will later on your computer.
Use natural framing — Try to get some rocks, tree branches, building frames or whatever into the foreground of your shot. Sometimes even objects lying on the ground can work. These natural framers will help add depth to your photo.
Post-editing — OK, your best shot is not quite that good. Color’s a bit off, and there’s too much blank space on one side. Besides, it’s all tilted at an angle. Turns out, there are some great photo-edit tools for a small amount of money that will let you fix all of those problems and more. If you’re interested, shop the web for products — you will find many to choose from. You can even use Paint in Windows for basic cropping, rotation, resizing, etc.
Our space here does not allow examples of all these elements, but you can start practicing and see your own shots. Compare them to stuff you see from others and on the web, and you will quickly fine-tune and improve your photos.
photo: avs photography on wikidpedia.org
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at www.divver-city.com/blog.