Stop chopping off heads and start taking great photos
5th February 2010
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Chopped off heads, blurred images that almost look like family members and photos so dark they look like they have been taken at night in a coal shed!

These are just a few of the things that can go wrong when we pick up our cameras to capture “that perfect shot”.

60’s iconic photographers David Bailey and Terence Donovan once sat down and mulled over all the things that can go wrong when taking photographs. They counted 144, including simple things like leaving the lens cap on, to major blunders like dropping the camera in the river! They concluded that the only difference between amateur and professional is that the professional’s list is (usually) shorter than the amateurs.

Of course, as professional photographers we are pleased that many people do not perfect the art and science of photography – after all, we do want to stay in work !!

The digital age has made taking pictures that much easier and is so immediate you can see straight away whether you have a decent image or not; coupled with affordability, using a good quality camera is now within everyone reach.

No matter what your hardware, there are certain things you still need to do to produce good photos whether you use a digital or a film camera,

My blog on the Best of Bognor Regis site has been designed to help you take better pictures – digital or film – by introducing you to some important basics that help you get what you see.

Problem- Blurred photos

My first offering is to look at blurred photos and to emphasise the need to hold your camera very still at the point when you press the shutter release button.

There are two types of blurring on a photo, the first – subject movement - is usually deliberate and can be used to enhance the impact and purpose of a photo.

Think of a street scene where a couple are held in a warm embrace. The couple are still, clear and in sharp focus whilst the other people are walking by, blurred and indistinct. This type of blur is quite acceptable bringing your eye to the main subject, emphasisng their importance, stating the isolation. It still does require the camera to be held perfectly still.

The second type of blurring is where the whole of the photo is disappointingly un-sharp and caused by camera movement during exposure. Avoid this problem unless you are deliberately seeking an image that is to be fuzzy and unclear.


If you can control the cameras shutter speed, choose as fast a speed as possible (1/60 sec or faster), if using an automatic setting try and keep your camera as steady as possible by using a tripod, monopod or placing the camera on something solid, like a table, fence or a rock. Carry a small bean bag to help position your camera and allow the bag to absorb any movement at the time of exposure.

If the shot requires you to hand-hold the camera, stand with your feet apart (in line with your shoulders) and press the exposure button slowly whilst holding your breath, keeping the camera as still as possible.

Next time, learn how to add impact to your landscapes and portraits, with a couple of simple compositional methods.

The advice given in this blog, along with many other hints and tips on getting  the most from your camera is part of a one day photo course entitled Introduction to Digital Photography. For further information telephone me, John Donabie, on Bognor Regis 01243 555 550.

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