Make Your Pics Soar with these Top Tips

Tips for taking great pics, right?  Where does one start?  Well, two practical picture snapping workshops in early June have definitely pointed the Art Partners in the right direction.

The setting of the inviting Lyndendale Gallery in the Ferguson Valley was perfect for a Saturday morning workshop led by professional photographer Jill Harrison.  Protégé Sam Everitt was in attendance and appreciated the comprehensive slide show that beautifully illustrated many of Jill’s suggestions for successful composition.

Late in the morning, and with some personalized coaching from Jill, Sam was able to put a few of her suggestions to the test.

First up though is a photo by Jill which illustrates the importance of body position.  Pictured immediately below is Sam with feet positioned for good balance, with both arms braced against the body which provides a sturdy platform for the camera.

Sam Everitt demonstrating a photographer's stance.  Photo by Jill Harrison

Sam Everitt demonstrating a photographer’s stance. Photo by Jill Harrison

Top Tips From Around the Gallery

With these two photographs – which, by the way, feature ribbon-wrapped card sets by Roslyn Burns (for sale in the Lyndendale Gallery and Southern Picture Framers) – Sam illustrates the rule of odds.  As is highlighted below, photographs with an odd number of objects on display are often more pleasing than those with an even number.

During her workshop, Jill spoke of the idea of leading lines.  This photograph by Sam is a great example.  Beginning in the bottom right of the photograph, the eye follows the line of the fence.  A well-positioned leading line serves to draw a viewer into a photograph.

This photo of a fence by Sam Everitt is a super example of leading lines.  Notice how your eye follows the line of the fence and draws you into the  photo

This photo of a fence by Sam Everitt is a super example of leading lines. Notice how your eye follows the line of the fence and draws you into the photo

According to Jill, the rule of thirds is a key element of good composition.  For a vertical subject, simply divide your frame vertically into thirds.  Then, try to ensure your subject is positioned on one of the two vertical divides.  Sam’s photograph of the magnificent trees at the front of the Lyndendale property is a super example of the rule of thirds.

This photo of the trees at the front of the Lyndendale property is a great example of the rule of thirds

This photo of the trees at the front of the Lyndendale property is a great example of the rule of thirds

Given the workshop’s setting in a gallery, owner Denise Gilles offered up this digital and screen print by Graeme Pages-Oliver (on exhibition at the Gallery until June 22) as an excellent example of both leading lines and the rule of thirds.  Sam captured Week 10 (from My Inner Tree series) really well by taking advantage of the natural light in the Gallery.

Week 10 by Graeme Pages-Oliver as photographed by Sam Everitt shows off both the rule of thirds and leading lines

Week 10 by Graeme Pages-Oliver as photographed by Sam Everitt shows off both the rule of thirds and leading lines

Jill explained that a more technical aspect of good composition involves aperture priority.  This manual setting controls the amount of light coming into the lens.  This setting can be used to keep the foreground in focus while blurring the background.  This photograph by Sam appears to make good use of his camera’s aperture priority.

This image looks to be a good example of Sam Everitt's use of aperture priority

This image looks to be a good example of Sam Everitt’s use of aperture priority

Top Tips on Offer at New Club

Also in early June, a photography club for young people aged between 16 – 25 was launched at headspace Bunbury.  Art Partners was there for the inaugural workshop led by Ruslan Kulski, the Producer for ABC Open South West.

The ultimate aim of the session was for participants to capture images for a current ABC Open project called Snapped.  First up, however, was Ruslan’s presentation of top tips.  He projected a series of black and white hints and tidbits which proved simple and easy to remember.

A sample of Ruslan’s rules of engagement included:  ask first, shoot later (ask people if we can take their photo); get uncomfortable (get low, get down, get really close, get really far); zoom with your legs (this is much better, apparently, than the digital zoom); get comfortable with the rule of thirds (also a top tip from Jill Harrison); and, get support (prop your camera or mobile on something to help avoid those blurry images).

Armed with those handy suggestions, we were let loose and visited local businesses to capture pictures for Snapped with ‘At Work’ being the current theme.  In keeping with the ABC Open’s non-commercial mandate, we won’t tell you which businesses we visited.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t guess.

Rule of Thirds Reigns

This photo of the Art Partners favourite picture framer (not quite at work) makes good use of the rule of thirds.

Our favourite picture framer takes time to smile in this photo which is a great example of the rule of thirds

Our favourite picture framer takes time to smile in this photo which is a great example of the rule of thirds

David Gaudion, who was participating in his first activity with Art Partners, took this snap of a barista at work in a local coffee shop.  It also illustrates the effectiveness of the rule of thirds.

This Bunbury barista as photographed by David Gaudion is another excellent example of the rule of thirds

This Bunbury barista as photographed by David Gaudion is another excellent example of the rule of thirds

Immediate Feedback

One thing that was most rewarding about the headspace Bunbury Photography Club workshop was the chance for participants to share their digital images with each other for immediate feedback.

Here is David on Victoria Street sharing images with another participant.

David Gaudion (right) sharing images with a fellow workshop participant

David Gaudion (right) sharing images with a fellow workshop participant

And, here’s Ruslan trying to decipher what’s on David’s mobile screen.  We’re guessing that David had tried shooting from the hip which is a great way of ensuring unsuspecting composition.

David Gaudion (left) checks in with Ruslan Kulski

David Gaudion (left) checks in with Ruslan Kulski

Want to Make Your Photos Soar?

For information on upcoming photography workshops at Lyndendale Gallery: email Lyndendale Gallery or call 9728 3038.  Follow the Gallery’s blog here.

For information on the headspace Bunbury Photography Club: email headspace Bunbury or call 9729 6800

Other Top Tips?

Why not share them with us in the comments section.  Just click on ‘reply’ immediately under the article’s title.

Happy Snapping!

35 thoughts on “Make Your Pics Soar with these Top Tips

  1. Catherine Curnow

    Thanks for sharing these very informative and interesting photography tips. I was particularly interested in the “zoom with your legs” which I’ve always had a habit of doing. I thought it was silly not to use the digital zoom feature, so it’s great to see that both methods are useful! I’m intending to practice some photos with leading lines, and also the rule of odds technique. Hopefully I’ll be available to attend one of Jill’s future workshops – it sounds like it was fabulous from start to finish!

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Hello Catherine! It’s great to hear from you. Yes, the workshops were just super. It’s amazing how much you can improve by putting a few of the tips into practice. Perhaps we’ll see you one day soon at the Lyndendale Gallery. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
    2. helenseiver

      I have always Zoomed with my legs as well, and like you Catherine thought it was a waste of a digital zoom. Thanks Sam for bring this to my attention and from now on will Zoom with my legs!
      Congratulations to both Sam and David on getting out there with the camera!!
      Helen

      Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Hello Lyndendale Gallery! Sam will be delighted to hear from you. The workshop by Jill was both informative and practical, thus he was able to produce enough photos to illustrate the post. Thanks again for having us!

      Reply
  2. Irene in Canada

    Lots of wonderful tips – and great illustration on how to apply them by way of the photos. Thanks so much for this artistic bit of inspiration!

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Irene from Canada. Isn’t it great that there are so many simple tips to enable us all to improve our photos. Even simple and quick snaps can easily be gentler on the eye by following a few of the tips. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  3. Life Images by Jill

    It was great to see you at the workshop Sam. Congratulations on the way you have put to good use some of the composition rules in these super images. Well done Sam. And congratulations Art Partners on such a wonderful concept supporting artists of all abilities.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Dear Jill, On behalf of Sam and the Art Partners team, thanks for putting on the workshop. It was a super morning, and great that Sam was able to document it using your inspired tips. We hope to see you again soon!

      Reply
  4. Rob Holmes

    Some great tips and Sam’s photos were excellent guides. I’m off now to put into practice the tips here in Bali. Rob.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Hello Rob! You’re in the perfect place to practice. I’m sure that Sam would love to see a few of your sample photos after you’ve tried a few of Jill’s simple tips. Go well and happy snapping.

      Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      The first meeting of the headspace Bunbury Photography Club was just great. It combined practical tips and on-the-job training. Can’t wait to see what we’ll get up to next time.

      Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Katie for stopping by the blog post. And, thanks for going ahead with the headspace Bunbury Photography Club. What a great initiative which so many young people can benefit from. Bravo!

      Reply
  5. Jenny Wood

    Congratulations to my dear friend Jill, on her first workshop. And to Sam for continuing to grow and develop his wonderful eye for photography. Was lovely to see the photo’s.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks Jenny for stopping by the blog. It’s always great to hear from you. From our end, the workshop was just super and held in such a lovely location. We learned so much from Jill. We look forward to more encounters with this skilled and patient tutor.

      Reply
  6. Michael Finn

    Sam has an amazing amount of energy and an incredible capacity to share his endeavours with his ever expanding social network. I’m glad to see Mike from Southern Picture Framers rate a mention too – Mike continues to support Art Partners and the work I’ve had done by Mike is of an extraordinary standard. Well done to all!

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks, as always, Michael. It’s great that Sam’s photography is proving to be a tool to connect to the wider community. And, yes, Mike, Lois and Franca at Southern Picture Framers have been standouts. We love our collaboration with them, and enjoy seeing how our partnership has evolved since 2011. Here’s to the future!

      Reply
  7. graemepo

    I’m glad you found my print that was on display at Lyndendale Gallery useful in your photographic workshop.

    To give you some background about it, in 2011 I challenged myself to do one drawing a week based in how I was feeling and were I was.

    To do this I started doing intuitive drawing, where I simply started drawing with nothing in mind. Previously when I had used this technique I found the drawings usually developed into a tree in a landscape. Having done some Art Therapy in the past I recognised the tree represented me and the landscape was my life at that moment in time. Very quickly I saw the same happening when I started my year long project.

    At the end of the twelve months I had fifty two drawings of trees that reflected how I was feeling and where I had travelled to in that year.

    I then scanned the drawings and converted about half of them into limited edition Silk Screen and Digital prints for the “My Inner Tree” exhibition.

    The photograph that Sam took was one of the prints from that solo exhibition held in March of 2012.

    Incidentally the full collection of the drawings can still be viewed as a YouTube movie at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeilUfWome0 which was prepared as a promotion for the exhibition.
    Or simply search “My Inner Tree” in YouTube.

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Dear Graeme, Thank you for stopping by the blog and for your most interesting comment and video link. Denise at Lyndendale Gallery did tell those in Jill’s photography workshop a little about your ‘one drawing per week’ project. However, it’s great that we’ve made the direct connection to you and have heard a little more first hand. At Art Partners we just love the way your ‘Week 10’ helped illustrate the post. Thanks!

      Reply
  8. Lyndendale Gallery

    To see some of the lovely photos taken by the teacher at the photography workshop here at Lyndendale Gallery, go to Jill Harrison’s life images blog.
    Great to see Art Partners striking such a chord with so many readers.

    Reply
  9. ingridrick

    What a great post Wanda and Sam … you ‘ve done a great job illustrating the rules and tips of photography. I think Graeme PO makes a very good point about committing to a drawing every week. The same applies to photographers and writers (take note Ingrid). I have a few nice photos after attending Jill’s workshops and will include in my next blog post.

    Reply
    1. Life Images by Jill

      Yes a project can be a great way to practice and learn Ingrid. I am doing a 365 project – 1 photo a day for a year – it can be challenging at times. It will be interesting to look back over the year when I get to 31 December!

      Reply
    2. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks so much Ingrid. We too like the idea of committing to something every week. What discipline! We look forward to your next post. In fact, we’ll pop over and check now.

      Reply
  10. Lindy Loo

    Thank you for providing some simple hints in photography. I am sure with a few useful tips like that I will be shooting my pictures in a new way. This article captured my interest so much I forgot I am meant to be doing an assignment (totally distracted me just what I needed) 🙂

    Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      Thanks so much Lindy Loo for stopping by the post and commenting. We’re delighted that you found the article so interesting that it provided a diversion! Improvements in photography are quite simple to achieve, we think, by following just a few of the tips. Good luck!

      Reply
    1. Art Partners Post author

      It’s great to hear from you Wobby. We wish you all the best with your photography, and glad you found some inspiration from our top tips (or tips from Jill and Ruslan, that is).

      Reply
  11. Johanna

    Well done Sam on some super photos! Thank you Wanda too for relaying some awesome photography tips from Jill’s amazing workshop. So sorry I wasn’t here for it, but hoping to catch the next one.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: 10 Works, 5 Artists and Many Mentors in 1 Package | Art Partners

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