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How to frame and how to produce cracking candids.

How to frame and how to produce cracking candids. - Steve Davey and David Taylor are professional travel photographers who have a spot of advice on taking better holiday photographs.

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Category : Landscape and Travel
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Zanzibar school
 Photo by David Taylor: School children in Zanzibar.
It's easy to reproduce the same images and make a photo that resembles another image created by someone else. The trick is to find an angle or approach that no one else has tried before.
 
For example, even though there are countless photographs of the Eiffel Tower, if you take a little time to think about what you're photographing then it is possible to produce something very different to every other Eiffel Tower picture out there.
 
Can the subject be pleasingly framed by other elements in the landscape? Is there a higher viewpoint from which to shoot? This all takes more work than just arriving at a location and shooting the ‘standard’ views. The results, however, will be worth it,” said David.
 
Composition is important for the creation of a successful photograph. For David, an interesting photo is one that contains all the information necessary to get across the ideas of a place, or a person, without any distracting elements which lead the eye away from the subject. For this, there are certain rules that can be followed to produce pleasing photographic compositions, but David wants you to remember that rules in photography can and should be broke to be truly creative!
 
The most famous rule is the ‘Rule of Thirds’ that states: an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. The practical upshot of the Rule of Thirds is that the most important element of the image should never be placed centrally, but to the left or right of centre.
 
Zanzibar children writing
 Photo by David Taylor: Children writing in Zanzibar.
Another rule is the “Rule of Odds” in which David says an odd number of elements in a scene are preferable to an even number, because the middle element is automatically framed by those that surround it.
 
Ethiopian Priest
 Photo by Steve Davey: This portrait of an Ethiopian Priest was shot when the sky was completely overcast. This means that he is not squinting into the sun and that all of the detail in his face renders in great detail.
Using symmetry is also a powerful compositional tool. Symmetry is the direct opposite to the Rule of Odds, in that symmetries require an even number of elements. A tree and its refection in a pond is an obvious example of symmetry. However, symmetries can also involve non-related objects that merely resemble each other in shape, colour or texture.
 
Colour can also be used as a compositional device. Different colours can be harmonious together (reds and yellows or yellows and greens) or complementary (orange and blue or magenta and green are complementary). A harmonious colour scheme is restful, passive and natural, an image in which two complementary colours are used is more dynamic, vibrant and less natural.”
 
When it comes to portraits, what you shoot and how you shoot it depends on the look you are trying to achieve. Steve believes it's often worth shooting  close ups that fill the frame with someone's face as well as wider, environmental shots that show something about the place that they are living in. When you're taking the picture, either shoot a very close up portrait, or a wider shot with them to the side of the frame showing their environment. This will give more of an idea as to who they are and what they do.
 
Laotian hilltribe woman
 Photo by Steve Davey: Getting in close and using a telephoto lens has meant that this portrait of a Laotian hilltribe woman completely fills the frame and produces a more immediate and striking picture.
The best way to improve your portraits is to get in closer to the subject and relate to them and get them to react to you. Not only will this result in better pictures, but it will give you a better experience and the chance to interact with the locals,” explains Steve. “People can often think you need to shoot candid shots to get natural portraits, and this isn't necessary. There is a place for candid photography, as it does help you to get natural shots, but you shouldn't use the candid style so that you can steal shots of people who you know don't want to be photographed.
 
The face is also a very compelling subject for a photograph. If the subject is looking directly at the camera the resulting photo will have impact. David likes simple compositions when shooting portraits. He feels getting in close to a subject (without scaring them!) makes a portrait more powerful. That said, don’t ignore other parts of the body too.
 
Hands are particularly expressive and can help tell the story of a person’s life - particularly if there is something personal being held there,” added David.
 
In part four, Steve and David discuss post-production and give their final pieces of advice for improving your travel and holiday photographs.
Photo by Steve Davey portrait of man with cows.
 Photo by Steve Davey: By composing a portrait with the subject in one corner and their environment in the rest of the frame you can tell more about them, where they live and what they do. As this was shot with a wide angle lens, I still had to get close to the subject though.

Steve Davey's most recent book and range of travel photography tours can be found on his website: Steve Davey.

For more information about David Taylor and his travel work visit his website: David Taylor.

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