Here are a few photography hints that can sometimes make all the difference between an ordinary photo and a great photo. We have also included some hints for getting the most out of your digital photography.


The importance of lighting when taking photographs can never be stressed enough. Always take note of the amount of light on and around the subject.

Natural light is more preferred than artifical light. A flash usually gives a harsh bright light compared to indirect sunlight or light from incandescent lamps.

When shooting outdoors, the Sun can throw heavy shadows, taking away colour and detail. Cloud cover presents a much better environment for your photos.

Generally, it is not a good idea to shoot with a light source behind the the subject as the auto exposure feature of cameras detect the light and will usually capture just the background and the silhouette of the subject. Forcing the camera to use the flash will reveal the subject and still capture the background.

backlight comparison

This is an example of a subject standing in her own shadow (right) and a photo taken a moment later using the flash to balance the light between the background and subject (left).


The background can be just as important as the subject. When taking portraits it is generally best to use simple and plain backgrounds. They are the easiest to work with and there are less distractions that can interfere with composition of the portrait.

The positioning of the subject within the frame can convey various emotions or moods. Try experimenting with the position of the subject to get different effects.

Digital Photography

The first and most important rule of digital photography is to always keep your camera's battery charged and always have a spare on hand.

When the pictures have been taken you will need to transfer them to your PC or take them to a Photo Centre where they can be printed and/or saved to CD. Remember that once the files are deleted from the camera they are gone forever, so it is very important that you make sure you have the picture files stored somewhere, like a CD or on your computer, before you delete them from the camera.

Name your files appropriately and you'll always be able to find them. Consistency is the key. Including the name of the subject and date at the least for easy reference.

Colour Variance

People have many differing tastes on how a photo should look in regards to colour. When adjusting the colour of a photo the developer will try and find a object, of which they know the colour, and use it as a point of reference to adjust the colour variance in the photo.

This is an example of a portrait which has differing colour balances, which both look good but only is how the customer remembers it.

In such cases that there is no point of reference the developer has to decide on the colour variance, which could be totally different to how the customer remembers it. So, in these cases it is better to provide an example of how it looked like, or to best describe it to the developer.

Lithium Ion Battery

If you leave your lithium ion battery without a charge for too long it will fall “asleep”. If your battery falls asleep it’s as good as garbage. The way too prevent a battery from falling asleep is to ensure it remains slightly charge at all times.

Rule 1 : Never leave an empty battery sitting for too long unless you want a dead battery. It is also not good for them to be kept at full charge all the time.

Rule 2 : Don’t leave your battery on a charger all time this will also damage the battery.

If a battery is to be stored without use for long periods of time, make sure the battery has a charge before you store it away and check it every 3 to 6 months depending on temperature.

The optimal charge too leave on a stored battery is about 50%.

Notice what's around the subject and try to avoid getting unwanted objects in shot.
Create a vista that will draw in the viewer using paths that lead the eye.
Experiment with the angle of shot. Climb a ladder, or kneel down to get a different view.
Think about what you want people to see and react to, then crop out everything else.
Get up close and look for texture in the subject. Pay attention to the details.

Avoid A Digital Disaster

Far too many people are recording with their cameras and storing their pictures and video on a single hard drive in the family computer. Folks, this is dangerous! Hard drives fail. Its not a question of if but when. Here are a few things to consider:

Do store your digital files in more than one location. Maybe one backup at your office as a duplicate of what you have at home. Even the most robust storage system can be destroyed by fire or other disaster.

Use high quality storage devices, preferably with some built in redundancy. Some devices use two hard drives – if one drive should fail, an exact duplicate is available so no data is lost.

If you are going to store your images on CD, use a quality blank. All CD-Rs are not created equal. The stability of the recordable dye layer as well as the protective clear coat affect the longevity of CD-Rs. We recommend using Platinum scratch resistant CD-Rs. Almost none of the CD-Rs recovered from the flood waters in recent floods were readable. Again, storing all your digital file in one location is a BAD idea.

In general, CD-Rs have a greater expected lifespan than DVDs. Obviously DVD are necessary for preserving movies because of the large file sizes involved in recording video. Just like with CD-Rs, use a good blank.

DO MAKE PRINTS. Photographic prints have been around for over a 100 years. The jury is still out on the JPEG! At True Living Colour, we use the best materials available.

I have never seen a photo simply disappear in front of my eyes.