Take Better Pictures!

Our middle school newspaper club is off and running!  Last year the sponsoring teachers asked me to come in and talk to the students about how to take quality pictures for the newspaper.  Following is the information I gave to them (updated for this year's presentation with the club after school).  All of the images were taken by my daughter or me and as you'll see we're big fans of the cat!

Composition Rules

There are no set rules to composition (also called ‘framing’) but here are some tips:

  1. Framing: be aware of all elements in your picture, not just your subject (look what else is in the frame- trees? garbage? other people? etc.). Do these other elements distract from your image?

  1. Rule of Thirds: imagine the view finder is divided into thirds (both horizontally and vertically). Many say the best photos have the subject placed where the lines cross


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  1. Foreground and Background: Every picture has a foreground and background.  Zooming in really close focuses on the foreground and can blur the background. In this case the focus is on the background so the foreground is blurred.




  1. Line of Sight: photos are much more visually appealing if they are taken from different lines of sight (kneeling, camera on the ground, tilt, etc.)  See “Camera Angles” below

  1. Visual Depth:  Look for elements in a photograph that “move the eye” within the photo.  For example, looking down a staircase or traveling up a branch

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  1. Look for Patterns



  1. Texture:  Try getting close to your subject (much better quality than if you stand back and zoom)


Camera Angles

Bird’s Eye View: taking a photo from above the subject, looking down

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High Angle: taking your photo from just above the subject looking down (not as high as Bird’s Eye View. Some say this makes the subject look smaller or inferior)

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Extreme Close Up

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Low Angle: a photo that is just below the subject, looking up. This shot is used to make the subject look larger or superior (the president is often photographed this way)
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Canted Angle:  A photo that is tilted




Long Shot: a photo that is taken from far away, usually establishing setting

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Medium Shot:  Usually captures half of the subject from the waist up


Close-up Shot:  Directly focused on the subject
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See more of Abby's photos here: http://nmzumpano.wix.com/photosbyabby

Students in the newspaper club then went out and took pictures.  Here are their results!



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