Pictures enhance words; words clarify pictures. If you want to write travel pieces, take tons of photos. Back in the day, we were frugal about shutter-bugging. Film cost. Development cost. Therefore, the subject of our shot had to say “Cheese” until his face ached with TMJ. I believe Caesar took less time to “veni, vidi, vinci” than my dad took to capture a Kodak moment.
Nowadays, a person can shoot hordes of pics quickly. Carry a cell phone, and the world is yours. Take an iPad for back- up. Personally, I feel my 35 mm Nikon put on the P setting and using a flash can’t be beat. Yet, there’s something to be said for the convenience of a phone that fits in a shirt pocket rather than a heavy apparatus dangling from a sore neck.
Ten pointers, I’ve gleaned from photographers over the years, have helped me take images worthy of accompanying my articles.
1. Get down to the level of the person you are photographing.
2. Keep background clutter-free, not distracting.
3. Turn your camera. Make some shots horizontal (landscape); some vertical (portrait).
4. Use lines of stuff. Look for railroad tracks, columns, a row of boats—anything a gaze follows into the distance.
5. Rain’s a good thing. Cloudy days without glare are better for picture taking.
6. The Rule of Three— abide! Think of your image in thirds. Don’t stick the subject smack in the middle of the picture.
7. Red and yellow, seek them out. Many classic painters had “red” somewhere in the frame. And, recall what van Gogh did with “yellow.”
8. Hold your camera steady. Tripods aren’t usually available but discover a way to balance your camera, especially if you have shaky hands.
9. Know you can crop out stuff you don’t like. So, shoot away; edit later.
10. Go to PICMONKEY. You can jazz up the most “vanilla” pictures with this site’s technology.
Listen, I’m no Ansel Adams. Yet, I’ve found that magazines respond positively if after they inquire about a picture to accompany my story, I respond, “Absolutely.”
Let that be your answer, too.