The commonest mistake we all make is to include too much in a picture-the house, the garden, the family, AND the dog …or the beach, the lighthouse, Jack and Jill building sandcastles, AND the dog! It would be better to:
*Move close to jack and Jill, wait until they are absorbed in sandcastle building, and then take the picture.
*Wait until dusk when the light in the lighthouse is flashing, and reflecting in the water.
*Get up early in the morning, find a high viewpoint overlooking the beach, be patient until a few other early rises are walking or jogging along the edge of the water.
*Throw a stick for the dog, and take its picture when it returns to you wagging tail!
The camera will record fussy back grounds as just that, fussy backgrounds. A row of cars, the garbage bin in the distance, or the compost heap, Can all be avoided by moving your viewpoint. Look past the centre of interest in your picture to see if the background is uncluttered.
A light-colored subject usually looks better against a dark background and gives a 3-d effect.
It is easy to get carried away with lots of bright colors, but when you look at the print you will find the colors competing with each other for attention. A few touches of bright color in amongst greens and browns will give the picture impact and center of interest.
It really is true that the early riser catches the best pictures. The best times for photography are between sunrises and 10 in the morning, and from about 3.30 in the afternoon until sunset. In the middle of the day the sun is overhead and the shadows are hard and black.
Sunsets appeal to all of us, and figures silhouetted against a sunset backdrop make a very satisfying picture. Take your exposure reading to one of the sun (not at the sun itself) and if the reading is f11 at 1/125th second take two more picture, one at f16 at 1/125th second and the other f8 at 1/125th second. This is called `bracketing’ the exposure and makes sure that one of the three photographs will be correctly exposed. The next two pages give hints on what to do, and what not to do.