Wednesday, June 3, 2009

APERTURE MY FOOT ] Eric Cabahug's 'Photography for Dummies'

isla-azul"Isla Azul," Eric Cabahug

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you need to know about apertures and shutter speeds to take good photos. You don’t. Heck, you don’t even need a DLSR for that. Take it from me. My best photo, which has landed in a Lonely Planet travel book (Blue List 2008), was taken with a point-and-shoot. And even after more than a year with my DSLR, it’s still a stranger to me.

Here are some tips on how to take something that’ll get you a few “likes” in your Facebook page.

1 Make it fresh. Look up, down, away, sideways, closer, inside. Look where no one’s looking. Anywhere that’ll give you a fresh perspective on your subject, especially on an old/popular/common one.

2 Make it breathe. Don’t stuff your frame and take the air out of it. Have only one focal point. If there are other elements make sure none vies for the same level of attention as the center of attraction.

3 Make it stark. Don’t be afraid of negative (or blank) space. A small cross against the big sky or a tiny dot against a big plain wall is positively dramatic. There’s spark in stark.

4 Make it interesting. Dead center often means more dead than center of attention. Put your subject on the side or in one corner of your frame. You’ll have a more interesting photo.

5 Make it tease. Less is more. Don’t show the entire picture, only a detail – the chipped nose of an angel statue, for example. It lets your viewers use their imagination and involve them more.

6 Make it speak. Capture a moment, a feeling, an atmosphere. Or create one. Or several. Better if they tell a story. Or several stories. Just know what you want to say. And say it well.

Eric Cabahug is a screenwriter (he co-wrote the screenplay for the animated film Dayo), composer and an advertising copywriter. His photograph above is one of only 10 photos from among hundreds of thousands sent in by photographers from around the world chosen by the editors of Lonely Planet's Blue List 2008 travel book as the "Best in Travel" for its Blue List Moments section. Called "Isla Azul," the photo was taken in Camiguin's White Island.

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