The Gumtree Blog

A photographer’s guide to taking scenery shots

Tuesday 7 September 2010, by

Ceri's photos of RugbyCeri Middleton is a photographer and she’s new to Rugby. She decided to use this opportunity to do some exploring and take some photos of the place. As she goes about her day, we decided to take notes and see what we can learn from her photo-taking skills:

Tip 1: Try to shoot when there are less people around

It’s not a very sunny day, and there are quite a lot of clouds above, so I want to make sure I catch the best of what light there is. It’s peaceful – a Sunday afternoon, so there aren’t many people around – always a bonus when you’re trying to take pictures of landmarks. They never look quite as impressive when there are people walking in front of the shot!

Tip 2: Make use of what’s around you

I head to the library and museum first – I like the shape, and I’m hoping the sun will be in the right place to make the glass front look really good. I have to stand on the wall to get the shots I want – that extra bit of elevation makes all the difference!

Tip 3: See things from a different angle

The word ‘interesting’ isn’t the first thing that springs to my mind when I hear the words ‘concrete carpark’, but I like the challenge, so I set to work on a shot of the Clocktowers carpark. The flowers in the central reservation are very pretty, and I include them, knowing that the colour and the curve of the line will add a lot to the image.

Silver man statue in RugbyAfter a while I move on towards Caldicott Park. I like the silver music man statue at the far end, and want to see if he’ll look as good as an image as he does in real life.  I take shots from a few different angles, and am happy I’ll have something worth using from it.

Tip 4: Use a tripod for darker or moving shots

I’ve been carrying the tripod around with me, but haven’t used it much. I much prefer the flexibility of just holding the camera – it’s much easier to get into the right position for shots, and you can move and re-position quickly.

However, the tripod is better for some shots – the stability of it means the camera will not move at all, so you can use a much longer shutter speed. That’s perfect for times when there is not much light, or ywhen you want to create a blurred effect for things like moving cars, or gushing water. I use the tripod now, as the light is starting to fade.

Tip 5: Take multiple shots of everything

Church in RugbyThe church looks imposing with the dark sky behind it. I decide to angle the camera for this one – I’m a sucker for the ‘arty’ shots – but they don’t work all the time. I’ve already got an idea of how I will edit this one when I get home. I’m thinking black and white, with a lot of emphasis on the contrast, bringing out the texture of the bricks.

I take a quite few shots so I can choose the best of them later on. If you only take one of everything, you can almost guarantee that there’ll be something in there that ruins it, like wind moving the leaves of a tree and covering something important.

Tip 6: Review your photos before leaving your location

I shoot in digital, so I can review my photos before I leave each shoot. This helps make me confident that I’ll be happy with the shots when I go through them on the computer monitor later on, as I can change things I notice after reviewing each shot, for example, changing the position I shoot from so as to avoid a pole being in the way. These are things that you don’t notice with the naked eye, as your mind blocks it out and just sees what it wants to see. It’s much easier to see on a photo.

It’s starting to rain, so I head back to the car. Today’s been fun, and I’ve hopefully got some good shots from it.

Look out for Ceri’s photos of Rugby on the homepage. Want to be like Ceri and get your pictures there too? Send us your photos of Rugby!

Jia Min

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