The following key points were identified by John Gravett at at recent club meeting.
He said that we should pay attention to the edges of pictures and look for clutter and things chopped off. He talked about rocks in the foreground where only part was showing. Straggly pieces of plants were distracting. John also commented on leading lines which led out of the side of the image then re-appeared. John would have preferred to see the complete route of the leading line where possible.
For landscapes he said that the picture should normally be sharp overall. He went on to explain that good depth of field would be achieved by using small apertures. However, small apertures may mean that the shutter speed would be low. He recommended the use of a tripod when possible. If the photographer has to shoot hand held he reminded us that modern cameras can handle higher ISO settings without introducing a lot of noise. The higher ISO enables a sharp hand held image to be taken. He was of the opinion that some noise was preferable to an unsharp picture. Noise can be reduced in post processing whilst over-sharpening can introduce problems.
Position of camera
He gave examples showing that moving just a few feet left or right, or raising or lowering the camera could improve the composition. He advised us to look out for incongruous details such as a car in the background, and blurry flying birds. Try to avoid bright areas in the picture that distract the eye from the subject.
He emphasised how the use of the histogram would avoid exposure errors such as burned out highlights or loss of detail in the shadows.
He explained how the time of day, and the position of shadows was important. If the sun is directly overhead it can lead to a ‘flat image’ whilst if the sun is lower the resulting shadows add interest.
Uninteresting large areas, such as sky with no detail, or a plain foreground taking up a substantial area of the picture should be avoided.
In post processing he saw examples of the sky being enhanced resulting in unnatural differences between the sky and reflections. Reflections are usually darker than the sky so if the sky is darkened remember to darken the reflection. When selecting the sky for processing it may be useful to use enough feathering to avoid a sharp transition which may result in a halo.
He explained how the use of a polarising filter would subdue reflection or darken the sky, and said the polarising filter couldn’t be duplicated in Photoshop