Thursday, July 17, 2008

How to take decent photos

(I am very busy and can't blog. This is one I made earlier.)

Spike’s tricks
Putting your old film photos on the internet
Putting your digital photos on the internet
Putting your photos on a blog

I've have a fair few comments about how good my photos and how I must have a great camera. It's nice to hear but it's all an illusion. I take all my photos with a pissy 4 megapixel 4x optical zoom $200 point-and-click camera. That’s all I’ve got. No fancy gear, no training. I am a rank amateur with just a couple of tricks up my sleeve. This is them.

Trick #1
Digital camera

Digital cameras are a fucking godsend. You take all the photos you like then you pick the best. Then you just plug the bastard into your computer and upload the photos onto your hard drive.

Mine is 4 megapixels. It’s a Kodak DX6440. It has half a dozen settings. I use landscape and the one with a symbol of a flower for close-up. On landscape I use the zoom when I need to.

Trick #2
Look through the view-finder.

Yeah, I know the little screen on the back is handy and you don’t need to look through the view-finder. Looking through the view-finder shuts out the rest of the surroundings. You see what will be in the photo and nothing else. This is how you find the right bit of the landscape/whatever to make a nice photo.

Trick #3
Take a lot of photos

Don't take one photo of each thing and hope it's a good one. Take half a dozen photos of thesame thing. Make each photo a bit different.

Different lighting - cloud over sun/not, flash on/off, etc
Different angle - head on, bit to the side, side on
Different distance - zoom in/out/stand closer/back off
Different camera setting - flash on/off, landscape/landscape + zoom/close-up

Trick #4
Crop the bastards

Cropping just means cutting off the bits you don't want.

Foreshore at Leonora Avenue Davistown
The original photo, uncropped, showing the house against the background of its own trees and nearby trees, park and houses.

Cropped to bring the focus in to the house within its immediate surroundings.

Cropped tight to bring the focus right in on the house and the details of its design, construction and condition.

See these photos as slideshow

When the photos are on your computer, open them up in your photo software or in Paintbox and crop them until you’re happy.

(Cropping has a great side effect. It teaches you what to look for when you look through the view-finder. Cropping leads to better photos that don't need cropping.)

That’s it. Seriously. That’s the whole of what I do to make the photos on this blog.

Putting your old film photos on the internet

Some of you have got an old shoebox full of photos taken with a film camera. This is how to turn them into digital photos and show them off without breaking the budget.

$100-200 scanner. Works like a photocopier except the copy is a picture on your computer instead of on a sheet of paper.

Get a free account on It takes about 3 clicks. Seriously. Click on the ‘Upload’ link.

Send your mates an email with the webpage address for your photos.

Putting your digital photos on the internet

Show them to the world.

Do steps 2 and 3 just above.

Putting your photos on a blog
Do Putting your digital photos on a blog on the internet

Make a free blog like this one. It takes 2 minutes. Seriously.

Log in to Flickr. Click ‘All Sizes’ just above your photo on Flickr and copy the alphabet soup in the box under the photo. Log out of Flickr.

(To copy: Click once in the box, press the ‘CTRL’ and ‘C’ keys on your keyboard, both at once.)

Log in to your blog. Click ‘Create Post’ or ‘New Post’.

Paste the alphabet soup into the posting box. Type something under the alphabet soup to tell us about the photo.

(To paste: Press the ‘CTRL’ and ‘V’ keys on your keyboard both at once.)

Click the ‘Publish’ button. Log out (‘Sign Out’).

You are now a blogger. Come back in a few days and do it again.

Now you've got no excuse. Start putting them photos on the internet, people. We wanna see them.


Anonymous said...

Good advice.
I have a kodak and I think they are brilliant cameras.
Got some really good shots along the Brisbane Water with mine

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

Great practical advice, matey. Thank you. From what you've been posting over the time of this blog, all those points work brilliantly. Good on ya!

Mal :)

Unknown said...

My urgent blog question is; how do you find the numerical ranking of a blog. I found it once for olive's blog but have forgotten how I did it.

You might be interested in these hit figures,
July 14 109,335
15. ...385,649
16..... 573,542
17.....356, 824
18.....225 880.

Do you think I could claim that this is Aust.s most visited blog. How would i verify that?

Mike the helper.

Spike said...

Pattie, their digitals are nice and easy to use. You gonna put your photos up oline? Would be nice.

Mal, thank yer kindly.

Was it you who was doing some coastal walkies while I was offline? (Am lagging in getting round my blogroll.)

Mike, my brain is tired ATM but I think Googling "Australia's noisiest blogs" might get what you're after.

If not, pop into Technorati, Aussie Blogs, Bloggapedia (spelling may be crook) or try Wiki. They may have a page on Olive.

Those stats are great. No wonder the blog crashed during the spike.